Lords pass quota for Catholics in police

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The Independent Online

The government narrowly defeated a bid in the Lords yesterday to throw out recruitment rules for the reformed Northern Ireland police force that would ensure half of those taken on were Catholic.

The government narrowly defeated a bid in the Lords yesterday to throw out recruitment rules for the reformed Northern Ireland police force that would ensure half of those taken on were Catholic.

Voting was 175 to 185, government majority 10.

The decision followed an impassioned plea from leading Ulster Unionists and Conservative peers to the Government to reject the move, as they claimed the IRA/Sinn Fein would not in any event allow Catholics from the areas they control to join the new-look force created under the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill.

Lord Molyneaux, former leader of the Ulster Unionists, proposed the amendment that would instead have ensured that the composition "is representative of the population of Northern Ireland".

It was supported by Lord Fitt, an ex-SDLP MP ,who said: "The IRA on the one hand and the loyalists on the other will determine whether anyone will be accepted into the RUC, from the districts they at present control.

"I heard Gerry Adams say that this Bill as it is at present constructed, is totally unacceptable to Sinn Fein and therefore the IRA."

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