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14 January 1999 Edition

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Gardai to train with RUC

SF TD calls on Minister to cancel plan

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin has called on the Minister for Justice John O'Donoghue to cancel the forthcoming joint training programme between the Garda Síochána and the RUC. It has been revealed that the Garda/RUC training will begin under the auspices of the FBI in the US later this month. Gardai and RUC members are also due to undertake joint training at locations in Ireland on both sides of the border.

Caoimhghín O Caoláin said it was ``incredible'' that the Gardai were being allowed to train with the RUC at a time when the entire future of that force is in the balance in the context of the peace process. The Sinn Féin TD said:

``It is totally unacceptable that this first official joint training programme between the RUC and the Garda is taking place now. It clearly prejudices the outcome of the Policing Commission which is currently deliberating on the future of the RUC.

``The RUC is an internationally discredited force with no support among the vast majority of nationalists in the North of Ireland. This joint training with the Garda will be used for propaganda purposes by the RUC as they strive to counter growing demands for their disbandment and replacement with a proper policing service. It is essentially a publicity exercise in which the Irish Government should not allow the Garda to take part.''

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