Nesbitt calls on Dolores Kelly to apologise for RUC comments

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Nesbitt calls on Dolores Kelly to apologise for RUC comments

Mike Nesbitt MLA, the Ulster Unionist Party’s representative on the Policing Board, has called on fellow Board member the SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, to apologise for her recent comments in which she accused the RUC of ‘institutionalised sectarianism.’

Mike Nesbitt said:

“The RUC were the barrier between Northern Ireland and complete anarchy. They bravely held the line throughout the Troubles and hunted down terrorists whether they were republican or loyalist. Over 300 officers were murdered in the process, hundreds more physically injured and even more still carry the mental scars to this day.

“Dolores Kelly’s comments have caused great hurt to former officers, their families and friends, and that hurt is compounded for those who were related to or who served with those who were murdered or injured.

“We must never forget the reality that police officers didn’t wake up hoping to hurt someone, but every terrorist did, and it was police officers who were targeted simply because they were trying to protect society and save lives.

“Nobody disputes that the RUC could have done with more Catholic officers within its ranks. Hundreds of Catholics did serve with distinction and many achieved high rank. I have no doubt that many more would have come forward had it not been for the fact that the IRA made a special effort  to target those Catholics who did join the RUC in a deliberate policy of seeking to deter others from joining. So-called ‘dissident’ republican terrorists are still using this shameful tactic to discourage Catholics from joining the PSNI and that is a major factor as to why Catholic recruitment to the PSNI remains an issue.

“I believe Dolores Kelly should reflect on her comments and the hurt they have caused and apologise.”