Inequality continues in NIO, PSNI

The latest figures has revealed that less than one in four of core departmental staff of the British government’s Northern Ireland Office is Catholic.

Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, Caitriona Ruane has called for urgent action to address the huge under representation of Catholics.

Only 155 out of 657 staff based in the North dealing with issues including equality, criminal justice and security and political development is Catholic.

Ms Ruane demanded that the NIO along with a number of other organisations, including the BBC, is designated under Section 75 of the Equality legislation.

“Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the NIO, along with a number of other agencies and bodies, should be designated under section 75 of the equality provisions,” said Ms Ruane.

“These latest figures show that it a cold house for Catholics. It is also unacceptable that the NIO refuses to monitor in detail the deployment of Catholics throughout the department and demonstrates the urgent need for the NIO to be designated.

“We will again be raising the issue of inequality across the civil service and the urgent need for effective monitoring and radical action to tackle the structural inequality and discriminatory practices, such as the ban on Irish nationals from key civil service posts, in the political negotiations.

“The NIO has huge power in the state and wields particular influence in the peace process. It is very worrying that the level of Catholic under representation is lower in the NIO than in any other government department.”


Meanwhile, the latest figures indicate that only 16 per cent of PSNI police is Catholic.

The figures demonstrate that the PSNI is failing to implement the target of recruitment laid down by the Patten Commission report which emerged from the Good Friday Agreement.

Eight years after the agreement and six years after the introduction of the Police Act 2000, key elements of the Patten Commission’s recommendations on policing remain unfulfilled.

For instance, the Patten Commission recommended that the full-time Reserve should be disbanded, a recommendation which the PSNI has failed to fulfil.

The Patten Commission also recommended that the part-time Reserve could be significantly expanded to increase the rate of Catholic composition. Again, the PSNI has failed to progress this recommendation.

It was also revealed that two hundred of those currently serving in the PSNI have criminal convictions.

The NIO statistics show 19 sergeants, 148 constables, 28 full-time reserve officers and five part-time reserve members have criminal records.

Seven members were convicted of drink-driving last year.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey accused the PSNI of trying to cover up the figures.

He said: “It should come as no surprise that a culture of concealment has transported itself from the RUC to the PSNI.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News