Thursday, September 9, 1999 Published at 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Sinn Fein cautious over RUC proposals
Sinn Fein wants the RUC to be completely disbanded
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Sinn Fein has said it will consult the nationalist community before responding to the proposals contained in the report into policing in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, has been calling for the RUC to be disbanded.
The republicans also wanted existing officers to have to apply for membership of a new service - that service should be unarmed and there should be a ban on plastic bullets.
Chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said: "What we were seeking was the disbandment of the RUC and the creation of new policing service.
"If we create a new policing service then we will have effectively disbanded the RUC, that's the test in my opinion."
Mr McGuinness gave no indication how long the consultation would take.
He said: "I've noticed over the last 24 hours other parties have rushed to judgement [on this issue].
"But this is too serious an issue for people to be knee-jerking. We are going to be very calm, very rational and will be discussing it with our own community."
He said: "We have an opportunity, not just to accept something which Chris Patten has drawn up, to manage, to shape, to help to devise a system which all of us can be comfortable with and can assume responsibility for."
But he expressed disappointed that an immediate ban on the use of plastic bullets was not proposed.
The SDLP would have liked a shorter time scale for the achievement of religious balance within the new force.
Mr Mallon added: "This is not about sectionalised interests.
"This is not about unionist policing or nationalist policing, it's about policing for all
the people in the north of Ireland."
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