An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

25 November 1999 Edition

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A retirement present?

The announcement this week that the British queen had awarded the Royal Ulster Constabulary the George Cross shouldn't come as a surprise, although gallantry is hardly the first word that comes to mind for most people when the RUC is mentioned.

On one level, this award is an insult to the thousands of nationalists who have suffered harassment, torture, beatings and death at the hands of a force that has been cited by numerous international human rights organisations for human rights abuses.

But Britain's colonial history is also littered with examples of colonial functionaries - whether they be individuals or organisations - being lauded before being told they are redundant in the new reality.

The British monarch awards these baubles on the ``advice'' of her ministers, and Mandelson has known to be under pressure from the unionist rearguard action to save the RUC from the Patten reforms.

Obviously it would be heartening for nationalists and republicans who have suffered at the hands of this ``police force'' to believe that this award is a posthumous one. It is vital, therefore, that everyone who wants a democratically accountable policing service keeps actively working to ensure that this is the case and that the RUC are consigned to the dustbin of history.

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