Aer Lingus sponsors RUC
Airline called on to apologise to nationalists
South Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Sean Hayes has called on Aer Lingus to ``apologise to the nationalist people of the North'' after it was disclosed that the airline sponsored a concert by the RUC band in Limerick last Saturday night, 25 November.
According to Hayes, the RUC are due to host a concert in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast during December and will be joined by the Garda band.
Hayes, who was attending a tourism concert in Ennistymon in County Clare at the weekend, said he was ``appalled to hear that Aer Lingus had invited the RUC down for the concert''.
Said Hayes: ``Flann Garvey of Clare Tourism Council was speaking at the conference and extolling the success of a twinning arrangement between Clare and Newry and Mourne in the North and the Western Isles of Scotland. I couldn't believe it when he cited the RUC concert as an example of this success and I was even more angry when some in the audience applauded.
``I would also like to know who funded this trip and ask how people in the 26 Counties would feel about their taxes going to pay for a weekend junket for the RUC, who have killed tortured and maimed thousands of people in the North over the years.
``Would they pay to bring a band from Chile when it was ruled by Pinochet?''
Hayes, who raised the RUC's record of human rights abuses and torture with people at the conference, is now calling for the Garda band to pull out of its December concert with the RUC.