Belfast Telegraph

Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar attacked for describing RUC as 'sectarian' by murdered officer's daughter

By Cate McCurry

The daughter of a slain RUC officer has lambasted actor Adrian Dunbar for criticising the force.

The Line of Duty star said in an interview he saw the police as an "oppressive force" when he was growing up here.

Enniskillen-born Dunbar (58) plays a Catholic former RUC officer heading a police anti-corruption unit in England in the BBC One drama.

The actor, one of seven children from a Catholic family, told the Radio Times: "The RUC were a sectarian organisation, given that they were drawn from one section of the community.

"It wasn't my section of the community, so it was hard not to see them as an oppressive force."

Maureen McComb, whose father, Hugh Henry Martin, was murdered with two RUC colleagues when their mobile patrol was ambushed by gunmen, said she had been left "disgusted" by Mr Dunbar's remarks.

Reserve Constable Martin (58) was killed alongside Constable Samuel Derek Davison (24) and Constable Kenneth Norman Lynch (22) when they were attacked by the IRA at Carnan, near Stewartstown in Co Tyrone, in June 1977.

The father-of-seven was raised close to the spot where he was murdered.

At his funeral he was described as a "faithful church member" and a "solid, respected" member of the community.

Mrs McComb, from Cookstown, said: "My father served his country without bias all his adult life. He had a great community spirit and was friends with all his neighbours, no matter (their creed or religion.

"For Adrian Dunbar to brand the RUC sectarian and oppressive is a very careless and thoughtless statement and shows total disrespect for the brave and kind men who gave their lives for their country.

"Once the word is spoken, it's very difficult to take it back. That's obviously how he feels, but if he did withdraw his statement that would not be enough. He has shown total disrespect for the forces of this country. His remarks disgust me.

"It is coming up to the 40th anniversary of the death of my father, who was brutally murdered at the hands of terrorists at Carnan, near Stewartstown.

"All of my family will be reflecting on this untimely loss of his life."

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for South East Fermanagh Foundation, called on the Enniskillen actor to issue an apology for his comments.

"I have spoken to several RUC widows from Protestant and Roman Catholic faith backgrounds and each has expressed to me their hurt in and disappointment with Mr Dunbar's comments," Mr Donaldson said.

"Each was clear in stating that their loved one joined the RUC to serve the community - the whole community - and that they stood together facing down the scourge of terrorism, whether from so-called republicans or so-called loyalists.

"All felt that Mr Dunbar should make an apology for what he has said, comments which they each feel were misjudged and ignorant of the realities of policing in Northern Ireland over the years of Troubles.

"One of the Roman Catholic RUC widows was keen to point out to me that many Roman Catholics were forced out of the RUC by the IRA and many more would have joined but for the dangers and risks they would have been taking."

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