12 February 1998 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Mowlam wishing on a star

By Marcas Mac RuairĂ­ and Laura Friel

AFTER weeks of slaughter of nationalists, during which the RUC covered up who was responsible, the British government has launched a document on the future of policing in the Six Counties.

Launching ``Your voice, Your choice,'' on Monday , Direct Ruler Mo Mowlam said the proposals aimed to bring the RUC closer to the community.

If anybody felt the document was ever going to seriously address the problem of policing, this was dispelled when in an interview for a Sunday paper, Security Minister Adam Ingram commented that nationalist mistrust of the RUC is ``overstated and overplayed by certain political groups.''

His dismissive comments are an insult to all those who have suffered at the hands of that force and when the following day Mowlam said that there would be ``elements of the nationalist community who see weaknesses in the document'' she missed the fundamental point that the RUC is not and never will be acceptable to the nationalist community.

``Changes had to be kept in perspective. Change was not going to happen overnight but slowly and surely,'' she said and added that the RUC was going to be open and accountable.

When it comes to leaking the personal details of nationalists to loyalists death squads, perhaps the RUC could be identified as open, wide open.

During the Drumcree Crisis of 1995, attempts to reroute an Orange parade away from the nationalist Garvaghy Road was met with open (there's that word again) revolt by members of the RUC.

But accountable? The RUC weren't even accountable to their own Chief Constable. Faced with mutiny, Hugh Annesley decided beating taigs off their own streets was the better option. A year later Ronnie Flanagan came to the same conclusion.

Since its foundation the RUC has been in the front line of defence for the status quo. It has been the bulwark of oppression against nationalists in the Six Counties, responsible for torture, death and wholesale and systematic attacks on nationalist communities.

Its sectarian attitude to the nationalist community has created a deep pool of anger and mistrust.

It beggars belief that the British government will suggest that nationalists don't feel strongly about the RUC, or that a little tinkering would make everybody feel much better. If Mo Mowlam believes the RUC can be reformed, she's not just wishing on a star, she's on another planet.

The RUC has to be disbanded.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1