The RUC and the PSNI

{As published today in Letters to the Editor – Irish Times.}

Sir, – I am writing to correct a point in your Editorial on Mary Lou McDonald TD’s attack on the new Garda Commissioner in Dáil Éireann (“An ill-judged intervention”, June 29th).

While I agree with the thrust of the piece, and that Drew Harris is an ideal commissioner to help drive the transformation of and rebuild confidence in An Garda Síochána, I must take you up on one point. In the article you state that “This antagonistic Dáil intervention” occurred “20 years on from the Patten commission and the disbandment of the RUC”.

The RUC was not disbanded. Its name was changed as part of a process of transformation of the force for a new role in a hoped-for new society. I know because I was responsible with colleagues for setting up that whole process and delivering the initial stages of it. Indeed, for almost 20 years, that transformation largely has been led by officers who started their careers in the RUC and have served with pride and distinction in both uniforms. Even today a significant percentage of officers in the PSNI began their careers in the RUC. The new commissioner is one of those officers and I am sure that his experience and his leading role in delivering that transformation will be of huge benefit to An Garda Síochána and to the wider community in the Republic. I wish him well in that new role.

The great sadness in all of this is that, after two decades in which the police in Northern Ireland have transformed, others have not and their only contribution is to peddle tired clichés that do nothing to transform politics in the North. – Yours, etc.,

ALAN McQUILLAN,

(Former Assistant

Chief Constable in

the RUC and PSNI),

Belfast.

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