Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench 6:15 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, there is certainly symmetry in the arguments which I have placed before your Lordships' House. I hope that, although there is a much smaller percentage of Protestants living in the Republic of Ireland than there are Catholics living in Northern Ireland, nevertheless they would join Garda Siochana in the same way as I argue that nationalists in Northern Ireland should join the police force there. I refer the noble Lord to paragraph 17.4 on page 98 of the Patten report where it is said:

"Many people in Northern Ireland from the Irish nationalist and republican tradition regard the name, badge and symbols of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as associating the police with the British constitution and state. This contributes to the perception that the police are not their police".

That is the issue before your Lordships' House.