The RUC and all who sail in it
By Ned Kelly
When a young Catholic man, Brian Maguire, died in RUC custody in
Castlereagh Interrogation Centre on May 1979, the RUC claimed his
death was suicide but many still maintain Maguire was murdered.
RUC Duty Inspector in charge of supervising interrogations at the
time was Ronnie Flanagan, current RUC Chief Constable.
When six unarmed nationalists were shot dead in the Lurgan area
by a covert RUC assassination squad in 1982 and the subsequent
investigation by John Stalker into an official `shoot-to-kill'
policy disintegrated, the affair was described as ``conspiracy to
commit murder compounded by conspiracy to pervert the course of
justice''. The Detective Chief Inspector in command of these units
was Ronnie Flanagan.
Flanagan's RUC career spans a strategy that dates back to the
early 1970s. This strategy was initiated by a previous British
Labour government, developed by the Tory government and inherited
by the current New Labour government.
Flanagan in a television interview on Tuesday night expressed
concern about a sophisticated, politically motivated plot to
undermine the RUC, defended its occasional ``mistakes'' and
maintained his men were still defenders of the right and the
This force has created the conflict and maintained the political
domination of Unionism.
Central to the strategy of Ulsterisation, criminalisation and
normalisation is the distancing of British responsibility for
creating the situation here and the portrayal of the RUC as
upholders of the `rule of law'. Also involved is a concept that
emerged during the rule of Margaret Thatcher and has been
consolidated under New Labour. It is the idea of creating
These stakeholders are the RUC. RUC Association chairman, Les
Rodgers, at a policing conference in Plymouth on Tuesday, said
there could and should be no change in the current policing
arrangements until society itself had changed - a stand
remarkably similar to the one in the DUP submission given by Ian
Paisley Jnr to the Patten Commission last month. At its core is a
failure to acknowledge the role of the RUC in creating and
maintaining the conflict.
This engagement in the securocrat agenda and attempt to maintain
a stranglehold on policing is described by North Belfast SF
assembly member Gerry Kelly as ``defending the indefensible''.
Kelly said: ``Rodgers is cynically attempting to influence the
commission on policing. The RUC did not, as Rodgers said, police
impartially over the past 30 years. Rather they consisted of a
regime wedded to the unionist political establishment to the
detriment of all others.''
The RUC are employed on behalf of and paid for not just by
Unionists but also by Nationalists. Two recent incidents serve to
underline their lack of commitment to justice.
Two weeks ago eight RUC officers attempted to block an inquiry
into the beating of Davy Adams in Castlereagh. The eight are
still serving officers despite the award of £30,000 in February
in damages against the RUC for ``illegal behaviour''.
After the second incident - the Derryhirk Inn attack where
undercover RUC men opened fire outside a bar and threatened
customers at Ahgagallon near Lurgan in March 1997 - twelve writs,
including one against Flanagan, have been served. The new legal
move followed an RUC investigation into the incident overseen by
the Independent Commission for Police Complaints that was
criticised because an RUC officer who took part in the attack
handled documents connected with the investigation. Plus ca