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29 July 1999 Edition

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End Garda/RUC links

News that the United States Congress has voted to suspend cooperation between the FBI and the RUC is welcome confirmation of the widespread opinion that the RUC is not an acceptable police force.

The rejection of the RUC by the American legislature, which should signal the withdrawal of funding and thus cooperation between the FBI and the RUC, coupled with the increasingly likelihood that the Patten Commission will recommend the scrapping of the RUC Special Branch, should be the final nail in the coffin of the RUC. This must be viewed as a vindication of those human rights groups who have been campaigning for the force's disbandment.

It is indicative of the social and political position of the Garda Síochána, however, that it is now one of the few forces worldwide that accepts the RUC as a legitimate police force.

One of the most conservative groupings within the 26-County establishment, it continues to prop up the RUC, with whom the gardaí have very close links.

The professional, social and personal relationships which have been built up between both forces, and indeed is actively encouraged by the 26-County establishment, can only be seen as a cynical attempt to legitimise the RUC and their activities.

At a time when people are actively seeking to build justice and peace in Ireland, the gardaí can no longer portray the RUC as a ``community police service''.

The gardaí cannot be allowed to ignore the overwhelming tide of world opinion. They must follow the lead shown by the U.S. House of Representatives and shun this discredited sectarian paramilitary force and their activities. Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and the many many others who have suffered at the hands of the RUC deserve no less.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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