17 December 1998 Edition

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Catholic church urges RUC reform

The north's Catholic bishops have told the Patten Commission that the RUC must be reformed if it is to ``secure the necessary levels of support from the Catholic community''.

During a private meeting with the Commission on Wednesday 9 December the bishops called for a ``new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland''.

According to reports the main focus of the submission was the under representation of Catholics in the RUC and the removal of British and Unionist symbols.

While the bishops recognised ``the need for a police service which enlists the consent of the whole community which is fundamental to the development of a just and stable society, the priority must remain the establishment of a new, representative and fully accountable police service for the people''.

To this end the bishops told the Commission that any new `police service' must have 40% nationalist representation to be accepted by the nationalist community.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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