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Former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan tells Nolan those found guilty of collusion should be ‘hung from the highest tree’

Another former PSNI chief claims historical investigations were shut down to protect freedom fighters turned politicians on BBC show


Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

Stephen Nolan conducting an interview for PSNI – 20 Years On The Frontline.

Stephen Nolan conducting an interview for PSNI – 20 Years On The Frontline.


Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

A former Chief Constable of the RUC and PSNI has said that if members of the police service are found guilty of collusion with paramilitary groups they should be “hung from the highest tree”.

A new documentary, PSNI – Twenty Years On The Frontline, will be aired on Monday night fronted by Stephen Nolan.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster (GMU) programme, Mr Nolan said there are “lots of very emotive” stories about the impact of taking on a policing role in Northern Ireland.

Key people will appear on the show including Lord Patten whose report recommended major changes to the RUC.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who was Chief Constable of the RUC as it transitioned to the PSNI, will also address concerns that the RUC was “not representative or acceptable” to everyone as well as claims of collusion with paramilitaries.

In a snippet played from the BBC documentary, Mr Flanagan says: “If anyone is found to have colluded in the way that I understand collusion to mean, to be actually working with criminals and terrorists and thugs; take them out and hang them from the highest tree. It’s despicable.”

In the programme, Stephen Nolan speaks to another former Chief Constable Hugh Orde about legacy investigations.

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The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) was set up to review more than 3,200 deaths during the Troubles.

Hugh Orde has claimed that HET was shut down to protect people in power. “It’s a fairly obvious notion that the more recent cases would have been committed, or the murderers or those involved in these trials would have been younger people.

“Younger people from both sides that had moved, made the transition for all the right reasons from one side, from the freedom fighter role to the roles of democratically elected individuals for example,” Mr Orde said in the clip played by Good Morning Ulster.

Mr Nolan also told BBC GMU about the experience of a Catholic officer who contributed to the show.

He said: “One Catholic officer, for example, speaks to us tonight, joined the RUC, was largely told by his father, by his own dad, ‘listen, it’s probably best that you don’t come home and see us any more’.

“And I think that highlights as much as anything how divisive the whole issue was, or indeed some family members just fearful for their children in the police.

“Of course everything was meant to change when the PSNI was set up 20 years ago and tonight we’re going to examine how much actually has changed, as well as to what extent the legacy of the Troubles still hangs over policing and politics here.”

In the programme top cop Alan McQuillan also makes a shock claim that the DUP wanted a judicial review to try and overturn the appointment of Sir Hugh Orde as Chief Constable.

The DUP has denied this ever happened.

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