Thursday, June 15, 2006
Yesterday was marked by an end of year celebration of the achievement of these young people. I was struck by how many were going on to either higher education or into the uniformed services - exactly the outcome that the course was designed to deliver. In my time teaching the Royal Navy had recruited, the Army had recruited, the RAF had recruited, the Fire Service had recruited. The PSNI had, to my knowledge, not.
I asked around as I was keen to discover why policing was seen as such an unattractive option. It turns out that there is indeed a problem with the PSNI - it does not want these young people because they are Protestant (or to use the language of discrimination "non Catholic"). A number of students had indeed applied to the PSNI but each one fell foul of the sectarian recruitment policy. Of those discriminated against the majority were taking temporary MacJobs in order to apply again whilst the rest were looking for employment elsewhere, lost forever to policing in Northern Ireland.
The Belfast Agreement was flawed in so many ways that opposing it was, for this blogger, a "no brainer". But yesterday actually brought home to me what the "process" had delivered in human terms- sectarian discrimination and a curtailment of opportunity. Surely no basis on which to build a stable and equitable future?
I've chopped and changed my mind about the agreement and have largely accepted the bad parts in the interest of the greater good (ie stability). But this, more than most aspects, really is soul destroying.
At the very least, it's past time the government set a point (eg 35%) at which they will abolish the discriminatory recruitment rules.
I too was against the agreement because and precisely for the greater good.
I share your frustration, these young people lose out and we lose out on them. The RCs who got in and would have on merit lose out because of the suspicion that hangs over their head that they may not have been the best of the available bunch.
The whole Patten thing was the biggest betrayel to RC RUC officers who sacrificed so much (and in all too many cases their very lives) to be part of it and now they are made invisible
However you Jeffrey, Arlene,Weirdo and Big Dave Brewster aka Darth Rumsfeld were all in on the GFA/BA negotiations.
What went wrong, surely you all could not have been making tea for the Purple one at the same time???
however, I recall being shunted of with Donaldson to some pointless meeting with the Irish AG. Lo and behold when we get back deal done.
As for the police thing, Ken Maginnis told the UUP executive not to be too vocal about Patton pre repotr in case the party was seen as being partial in the debate. This from the man who put 50/50 into the mix in the first place.
I do, however, make a nice brew!
I fear that policing here has been politicised in a way unimaginable pre-1998. I also don't believe embedding sectarianism whether in the Assembly or in police recruitment is anyway to advance a fractured society.
I have lived in belfast all my life and can say that i no longer care about the whole protes/catholic divide and find it desgraceful about the whole 50:50 recruitment process.