Criticism of archbishop’s endorsement of the PSNI

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The daughter of a man killed by the Glenanne Gang has criticised the leader of the Catholic church in Ireland after he encouraged young people to consider a career in the PSNI police.

Archbishop Eamon Martin made the call in a message included in parish newsletters in the Dioceses of Armagh and Dromore ealier this month.

Mid Ulster Aontú councillor Denise Mullen expressed concern at the priest’s intervention. Her father Denis was shot dead by the Glenanne Gang at their home near Moy in September 1975.

The gang killed scores in collusion with the Crown Forces. Former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris, now the Commissioner of the 26 County police, was involved in a lengthy legal action over his refusal to allow a broad investigation into the gang.

Ms Mullen said said Archbishop Martin has “failed to speak against the PSNI” in the past.

“My belief is that politics and religion don’t mix,” she said. “This is not about support for the PSNI, it’s about church authorities taking a one-sided approach to the conduct of the PSNI.”

In the newsletter, Archbishop Martin called for young people to “serve your community with generosity, concern, respect and courage” by joining the PSNI.

Saoradh also hit out the senior clergyman’s intervention. “The fact that former Republicans encourage people to join this force is farcical. For the leaders of the Catholic Church to call this an ‘honourable vocation’ is sickening,” they said. “The men of cloth continue to fail us time and time again.”

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