Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench 10:15 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have spoken to the amendment. I also thank the Minister for his remarks. I appreciate what he has said and I am very pleased. That is in no way complicated by my amendment. My amendment seeks to,

"make provision to support the development of the RUC Widows' Association and the RUC Benevolent Fund".

It is a process of linking those sections of our community who have made sacrifices to the fund outlined in Clause 70. Everyone recognises that RUC widows and those who have been injured and disabled have made sacrifices. We wish to link the association and the benevolent fund to the foundation established in the Bill,

"for the purpose of marking the sacrifices and honouring the achievements of the Royal Ulster Constabulary".

If we must have things in black and white and written in tablets of stone as regards the relationship between the Northern Ireland police force and the Garda Siochana, surely it is a very small request to ask that the sacrifice of those people back home, who were initially grievously hurt and injured physically and then mentally by the release, in many instances, of the murderers and the attackers--the terrorists--should be reflected in the clause. Is it too much to ask--it is a very small price-- that this amendment be accepted so that we may form a link in some way with the organisation called the "The Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation" for the purpose of marking the sacrifice and honouring the achievements of the RUC?

I do not believe that I am making an unreasonable request. It would be well received by the community from which I come in Northern Ireland, who have not gained much else from the past few days' activities in this House. Indeed, it would be received very well. I wish to test the opinion of the House on the amendment.