[Sinn Fein]

5 March 2000

Gardai should withdraw from RUC boxing team

Sinn Fein has called for the Garda Siochana to withdraw from joint RUC-Garda representative boxing teams and sports sides ``because of the RUC's human rights record and its abuse of if not outright involvement in the assassination of civil rights lawyers in the Six Counties''. Gardai are due to join an RUC representative boxing team going to England next month (April).

Sinn Fein Dublin Regional Executive spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

``The RUC is using the Garda as a cover to try and rehabilitate its image overseas. Joint representative sides give the RUC a respectability it does not deserve. Is the RUC - with its record from the pogroms of 1969 to the murders of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill and Rosemary Nelson - really the sort of force that the Garda want to represent them?'' Mr Ó Snodaigh added:

``Only last Wednesday, former RUC Special Branch chief Trevor Forbes admitted in court that he had deliberately destroyed vital evidence to hide it from the Stalker Inquiry and had lied to John Stalker about its existence. This weekend, the RUC notified Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor Tom Hartley that his name was among those found in a loyalist paramilitary cache of RUC and British Army security files - four months after the files were discovered!

``The RUC is no more a normal police force than the South African police was for the apartheid regime - it should be shunned in the same way.'' ENDS

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