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25 February 1999 Edition

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RUC-NYPD bout- ``a low blow''

By Christy Ward

It may not eclipse the picture of Mike Tyson chomping on the ear of Evander Holyfield as the most disgusting bout in boxing history, but a March 19th charity smoker at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan is sure to have Irish-American pugilists reaching for the gauze and calling on the cut-man.

A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department confirmed on Monday, February 22nd, as The Irish People was going to press, that the NYPD boxing team was to take part in a highly controversial charity benefit with a team from the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Senior Irish-American activists are left scratching their heads.

``This should be seen as an absolute embarrassment to the New York Police Department and the City of New York,'' said Paul Doris, NORAID national chairperson.

``There is no way members of the RUC should be allowed into this country for such an event,'' Doris continued, ``We are in the process of exposing just how bigoted and biased they are, how they are involved in colluding with loyalist death squads in the murder of innocent nationalists, how they were involved in a shoot-to-kill policy against Irish suspects - and then we have this. It's a low blow to humanity.

``Last May, members of the NYPD boxing squad stood 10 matches against the RUC team at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. This year, a team of four members of the RUC is expected to travel to the United States to take on the NYPD team.

``The RUC is sneaking in here to try and make themselves look good, when they're nothing but gangsters in green uniforms. It's a public relations stunt to make the RUC look respectable. New York City shouldn't go near it with a 10-foot pole.''

Irish-American organizations across the United States, expressing outrage upon learning that the RUC would take part in the event, are asking the NYPD to stop the RUC from participating. The New York-based Americans For a New Irish Agenda called on New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani and the City's police commissioner, Howard Safir, to block the invitation to the RUC.

A spokesperson for Giuliani's office told The Irish People at press time that the mayor would not attend the March 19th fights.

In a statement released Monday, noted civil-rights attorney Frank Durkan pointed out that the RUC was one of the most discredited forces on the face of the earth. He compared its record to that of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He termed the decision to invite the RUC to New York an insult to the thousands of nationalists in the Six Counties who have been forced to live as second-class citizens under the tyranny of this blatantly sectarian and prejudiced force.

In recent weeks, the RUC has sent representatives to the United States to meet and to court influential Members of Congress and media organisations. It has been feeling considerable heat lately, with several internationally respected human-rights groups questioning its credibility.
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