06 January 2006

Unionists' anger over IRA medal


06/01/2006 - 14:30:46

A police recruit wore a medal honouring the old IRA at a passing out parade in the North, it emerged today.

Ulster Unionists were outraged today that the Black and Tan medal, commemorating IRA members who fought British soldiers (known as the Black and Tans) during the 1917-21 campaign for Irish independence, was pinned to the chest of a graduate during a ceremony in November.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Assembly member Tom Elliott claimed the wearing of the medal was offensive to police families who lost relatives following Provisional IRA attacks.

“It is frankly disgusting that a new recruit has been allowed to wear an IRA medal at a graduation ceremony for the PSNI,” the UUP Assembly member said.

“It is highly insensitive given the history of the Police and their respected role in holding the line against the IRA over many years here. It is also grossly insulting to the families of many policemen and women who were murdered or maimed by the IRA.

“I am calling on the PSNI to ensure that this situation never happens again. They must take action to ensure that medals worn are appropriate, legitimate and obviously not of a paramilitary or terrorist nature.”

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