[Sinn Fein]

3 December 2000

Aer Lingus sponsorship of RUC challenged

A Sinn Fein councillor has challenged Aer Lingus bosses to explain why they spent tax-payers' money sponsoring a concert trip to Limerick last week by the band of the RUC.

Dublin City Councillor Nicky Kehoe said:

``The RUC has an appalling human rights record which has been indicted by organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among many others.

``The RUC has always been a politically partisan paramilitary police force on the lines of the South Africa police during the apartheid era.  It has many clouds still hanging over it, including its stonewalling of outside inquiries into its own death squad operations, collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, the mob murder in Portadown of Robert Hamill in full view of an RUC patrol, and the RUC's role in the murder of human rights lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

``I challenge Aer Lingus to publicly justify why it used tax-payers' money to sponsor the ongoing charm offensive of the discredited RUC.  They owe nationalists in the Six Counties not just an explanation but also an apology.''

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