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Moving police memorial a bid to 'airbrush RUC from history'

By Donna Deeney

Published 03/03/2016

Anger: Gregory Campbell
Anger: Gregory Campbell

The removal of a memorial to slain police officers from a prominent spot in a PSNI station was "an attempt to airbrush the sacrifice of RUC officers from history", an MP told Parliament.

Speaking during Northern Ireland Questions, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said thousands of people had signed a DUP petition against relocating the memorial to a photocopying room at Strand Road station.

Mr Campbell added: "The fact that thousands of people have signed an online petition in two days demonstrates the strength of feeling on the matter. If there is any rationale for memorials being moved, it should only be contemplated after consultation.

"On this occasion, there was none, and the conclusion is being drawn that it is an attempt to airbrush the sacrifice of RUC officers from history. The community needs to stand against any kind of rewriting of history."

Superintendent Mark McEwan apologised for any hurt caused and is expected to meet victims' families tomorrow.

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey MLA raised the issue with Mr McEwan during a visit to the station. He said he was "confident that a genuine mistake has been made in this instance with no offence intended".

"The room where the granite memorials had been on public view is no longer a public area - it is a room which is used for an overflow and used for voluntary attenders to be interviewed," Mr Hussey added. "Basically, the memorials were in an unused room.

"I believe the commander's intentions were good. The ultimate aim is to establish a police memorial area within Strand Road in which all the memorial items can be located in one place.

"We must remember the fallen of the RUC with pride as we must remember the fallen of the PSNI. Their service and sacrifice cannot be whitewashed from history.

"I will be raising this matter at the Policing Board and seeking an assurance from the senior command team that a new agreed policy will be implemented."

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