Furor Over RUC Recruitment Campaign
By Irish America Staff
April / May 2001
Belfast: Republicans and nationalists have attacked Royal Ulster Constabulary chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan for launching a new recruiting drive before outstanding police reforms are completed, Brendan Anderson reported in The Irish Voice.
Sinn Féin’s president Gerry Adams has asked young Nationalists not to join the force and to ignore an RUC advertising campaign which is aimed specifically at Catholics. The RUC is currently 92 percent Protestant.
Sinn Féin and the nationalist Social Democratic and Labor Party have objected on the grounds that promised reform measures have not been fully implemented. The parties have already refused to nominate members to the proposed new Police Board, which would govern the new body.
Both parties are also incensed that the recruiting campaign has been given the go ahead amid intense discussions aimed at finding a solution to the deadlock caused by disagreement on police reforms, decommissioning of IRA weapons, and the withdrawal of British troops from the North.
A clearly irritated Adams claimed that news of the recruiting drive was “sending out the wrong signals.” “It shows the RUC chief constable is not interested in a new policing service. He is recruiting for the old force, and Sinn Féin will be advising people not to have any part in anything less than what would bring about a platform for sustainable change,” he told Anderson. He added that the British government seemed to be about to make its “most monumental mistake” in decades by throwing away the chance to create the first policing service in the North supported by nationalists and republicans. ♦