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Will Catholics still want to join the PSNI?

Paula McCann | 14:48 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

When Ronan Kerr's mother went before the television cameras, she pleaded with everyone not to let her son's murder be in vain. She wants those responsible to be caught and dealt with. The murdered police officer's grandfather was on Talkback today speaking about the loss his family had suffered. As he looked through family photographs he talked about how Ronan's father, his son Brian, died of cancer three years ago. He said he was surprised when Ronan decided to join the PSNI because it was such a dangerous job, but that that was Ronan's choice.

The phone lines rang red hot with sympathy for the Kerr family.

We also heard from a woman worried for own family. She didn't want to be named but said she was married to a police officer and had five children. She told Wendy that she was terrified that her car would be targeted. It has three child seats in it and she said she'd never forgive herself if anything happened to her children.

We also heard from a 24 year old Catholic woman from west Belfast who said she'd thought about joining the PSNI but didn't because she was worried about her parents safety. She said she was glad she'd decided not to apply.

Will the murder of Ronan Kerr make Catholics think again about joining the PSNI?


  • Comment number 1.

    Why???????....and When??????? will Talkback/people/and society in general STOP! using religion,or making a difference between one religion against another regarding our police????......Shouldnt make a difference whether that poor lad was a Roman Catholic or not...and Talkback or people shouldnt make a big thing about,...his killers certainly dont give a damn.
    There has always been very brave officers from a Roman Catholic background in our Police,..be it The RIC,The RUC,...or The PSNI,they certainly werent put off joining when the threat from the pira was there,..and i have the highest respect for those men.
    People that are put of by Mr Kerr's needless murder to join the PSNI,..well the service is better of without them,regardless of their religion...in fact i would say Roman Catholics should be more determined to join the police and make this wee place in which we all live,..hmmm,...an even better place to live.

    Regardless of his religion my thoughts are for the brave Ronan Kerr and the loss of his young dear life,,..and with the Kerr family,and their loss,...a loss to us all

  • Comment number 2.

    "Why???????....and When??????? will Talkback/people/and society in general STOP! using religion,or making a difference between one religion against another regarding our police????"

    Why when it is a policeman who is killed do you not object on religious grounds? Yet when it comes to education you feel the need to voice your opinion against Catholic schools; schools which preform better and seem to offer more to our young people than non-Catholic schools. You are very contradictory in your views are you not???

    I don't think Catholic/nationalist/republican people should be put off. This state needs catholic/nationalist/republican officers in the police, to ensure that the police service cannot be used as a tool of coercion by one section against the other, as was the case in Ireland through the RIC, RUC and the early days of the PSNI.

    The young officer lost his life all because he wanted to make a change. The change needed is historical; something I'm sure this man knew of and wanted to change. Another change we need, is for these militant republican organisations to go away. The people of Ireland don't want you; decommission your arsenal and come into the process of building peace on this island.

  • Comment number 3.

    how am i being contradictory??,..religion should not be a matter in policing,thats me opinion,..my opinion on schools is that i would like to see NO unBiblical religion schools anywhere near our children,..or let them fund themselves,if they must

    The only people being contradictory are those tripping over themselves to condemn PC Kerr's murder,..eg:gaa,former provos and the likes,..who condoned for years the provo mother organisation murders of hundreds of our brave police officers.

    and as for being used as a tool,..the Roman Catholic people of Northern Ireland were used for years as an excuse and cover by republicans,..who by the way killed more of innocent RCs than any other group from the start to the present day

  • Comment number 4.


    The young man was a member of the GAA. You are such a fool. You also claim that republicans "killed more of innocent RCs than any other group from the start to the present day". So where exactly is the start? Perhaps it is in 1798, when the English killed 30,000 Irish people; mostly Catholic. Maybe the 'start' is in 1649 when Cromwell murdered almost half of the population of Ireland; most of them Catholic? Or is the 'start' in 1845 when the British government stood idly by when millions of Irish people, mostly Catholic, either died due to starvation and disease, or were sent to their deaths on 'coffin ships', paid for by greedy English people as a way of clearing the land of Catholics?

    Your view of conflict on this island is very narrow. The island of Ireland did not spring up from the sea in 1922. I have read a lot of your previous comments. You are anti-Catholic, except in instances where it is a Catholic member of the police force here.

    As for the 'provo mother' and the murder of 'brave police officers': These so-called brave men did enough direct and indirect killing themselves. This has been highlighted by numerous reports from former British police chiefs, to the Police Ombudsman and the Coroner. They were, as most of these reports conclude: Not fit for purpose. History is being re-written; it paints the RUC as nothing more than a corrupt and sectarian organisation, who went out of their way to corrupt the legal process in favour of their loyalist friends, and to tar all Catholics with the same brush.

    Nothing brave about that, and it's good to see young Catholic officers joining the PSNI. Especially young Irish speaking GAA members. That is what the police force here needs, discipline and a break from the past. A past where Catholics were not wanted in the police, be it the RIC, The B-Specials, The RUC reserve, or the RUC.

  • Comment number 5.

    To disgustedinderry

    'when Cromwell murdered almost half of the population of Ireland.'

    Half of the population in the 1650's were killed by Cromwell? Evidence please for the numbers killed and population figures for that time.

    Also you say 'a past where Catholics were not wanted in the police, be it the RIC...'. But were not the vast majority of the RIC throughout Ireland Catholic?

  • Comment number 6.

    When will Wendy Austin and Stephen Nolan stop offending the Nationalist people by continually referring to the six counties as Northern Ireland or the Province (Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal are part of the Province of Ulster) and the Republic as "Ireland" as though it was on a seperate planet. Ronan Kerr was an Irishman and was not ashamed of his Irishness, he represented all traditions on this Island and did so without fear or favour. He was an Irish Police Officer no less Irish than his counterparts in An Garda Siochana. Please try and balance your language, follow the example of Ronan Kerr and try and be as inclusive as possible and dont alienate 45% of the population in these six counties.
    I would hope that the Conservatives secretary of state will rethink their policy on 50/50 recruitment as a memorial to Ronan Kerr and allow and encourage the recruitment of young republicans and loyalists from west belfast, derry and other areas into the PSNI. This will be a lasting memorial to this young man and will help shape the future of all parts of Ireland.

  • Comment number 7.

    very deludedinLondonderry

    hmmmm,..and you say my views of the Island are narrow.

    if i was unclear i meant from 1969, the "mother" PIRA,.murdered more innocent Irish men,women and children than any other group in the conflict,and now their off spring continue...........thats not my narrow view,..that is fact.

    if you want me to try and put a start to our islands trouble,..then its when the romans and its church laid claim to this Island,..and have used its tactic of divide and rule,from then to this very day......thats not my narrow view, that fact

    as for the 16,17,and 1800s,...alot of people were slaughtered by Roman Catholics,simply because they were not,Roman Catholic,..thats not my narrow view, thats fact

    you mention 1798,..ok, the aim of the brave UnitedIrishmen was to break the vice grip of the roman church and church of england as rulers and lords over them from this Island,..thats fact,if it was a narrow view,..then its mine too,...cause mine is the same as theirs from then to this present day,..to break all outside religious interference from foreign over this islands internal affairs,especially the roman one.
    ...and,...all of those brave United Irishmen the rose fought and died in the Battle of Saintfield were from a non roman catholic background,..not one roman catholic fought or died in the Battle of Saintfield,..thats not my narrow view thats fact.

    hmmmm,..you speak to the famine, and the death of roman catholics,...how many priest died?....the roman church was very well off then and to the present day,..they easily could have provided food and for the people that starved,...thats my view and i guess a fact.

    as for the police religious make up of this island as a whole,..you have a very narrow view,...if we look at the make up of the whole island,psni and guards,..then it is overwhelming roman catholic,..not my narrow view ,..pure fact

    and just to make you very clear on my narrow view,..im not anti individual person Roman Catholic,not in the slightest,...i am however very anti roman hierarchy and their political influence on this island,if your too narrow minded to see a difference then thats your problem,..and i dont care,...and im absolutely anti pira,..on them,narrow view, would be an understatement,thats a fact

  • Comment number 8.

    West Belfast Republican

    Why is it so offensive to refer to our country as Northern Ireland. That is, after all, its official title. The six counties, that's a stupid reference derived from republican propaganda jargon which referred to this state as 'the occupied six counties'. This country is not occupied by an invading army as Sinn Fein implies, nor is it part of the UK because the Queen wants it to be (as some republicans I've met seem to think). It's a British country because the majority of the people here (and that includes many Catholics too) wish it to be so.
    Republicans seem to going out of their way to be offended lately. Like when they're affronted by the use of the word Londonderry, despite that being the city's actual name. I have no problem with the use of Derry either, and believe people should not be criticized for whatever choice they make.

    And why should 50/50 recruting be brought back? If the PSNI is left to recruit on the basis of merit alone, and providing Catholics hopefully aren't deterred from applying by attacks like those on Ronan Kerr, then the proportion of Catholics:Protestants (which shouldn't be an issue anyway) will gradually adjust to reflect the wider population, without the need for undemocratic discrimination.

    Hopefully then we'll have a PSNI made up of officers who are in the job because of their qualifications and performance and who will offer the community outstanding service, just like the Ronan Kerr.

    As for SeasonedLoyalist1andonly and disgustedinDERRY,
    I'm a Protestant living in a house with 4 Catholic mates and we agreed that you could go back over Irish history and point the finger of blame at each other and argue that the other side started it, but at the end of the day, you can't change history. We should instead learn from our past mistakes and try to avoid repeating them so that we can strive for a shared, peaceful and inclusive future for all.

  • Comment number 9.

    you are correct,..we should stop blaming each other, and learn from history and the mistakes that were made,...but we have got to scrutinize history because people get a very tainted view from it,..and will never learn from it.

    for instance! they will never see who started the nazi party,..though its not hard to find out.....you tell me who did,..or ask your 4 roman catholic mates,..and watch their reaction when the truth dawns on them

  • Comment number 10.

    The above exchange is why young men and women from Northern Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, are afraid to join the police force. I'm embarrassed for you both SeasonedLoyanist and Disgustedinderry. You people are why there is still such a divide in our communities, while most people want to move on and live together, people like you still keep harpin back to these differences which stem back hundreds of years. There'll never be peace and equalilty in NI with people like you about. Disgusted.

  • Comment number 11.


    save your embarrassment for someone else,...i dont suffer it!!...why?...cause the truth causes it,....and im not afraid of the truth

    roman catholics didnt join the police in great numbers cause they were afraid,..what off???..being murdered by the people, (the pira),that elected themselves as protectors of the roman community......thats the truth,..always was,..and as sadly we see with Ronan Ker's death,..it still is

  • Comment number 12.


    "Also you say 'a past where Catholics were not wanted in the police, be it the RIC...'. But were not the vast majority of the RIC throughout Ireland Catholic?"

    Evidence please for the numbers and figures of RIC who were Catholic at that time.


    Your anti-Catholic views are evident throughout you profile history. Your hypocrisy is sickening.

    I have to commend Peter Robinson for taking a common sense decision Ronan Kerr's funeral. If only others like him could make such gestures!

  • Comment number 13.


    oh aye i forgot, we're allowed to whine, gurn and be biased against everything,..as long as its British and non roman catholic,...but woe upon woe if anyone says anything that in anyway is against the Roman church,..thats your way isnt is?,..thats your freedom off speech?.....and thats way you never could get or never will getr the green roman United Ireland you all long for.

  • Comment number 14.


    And again your anti-Catholic rhetoric oozes from your post. If Ronan Kerr was not a PSNI officer, and only seen to be a GAA member, I wonder would you be so willing to speak out against his murder. I think you would not. If that were the case, he would just be another Roman, they sort you and people like you have an historical hatred for. Like I said before, you're sickening in your hypocrisy!

  • Comment number 15.

    People are people.

    End of!

  • Comment number 16.


    no not at all,...i will speak out against any murder carried out by mis guided irish republicans,..be their victim be in the Police, or in the GAA,or both....be they Roman Catholic,protestant or dissenter,...if, as you say, youve read my posts,..then it shouldnt be to hard for you to prove me different,...shall i hold my breath?

    you see, i dont see Ronan Kerr as a Roman Catholic or a GAA member,...just as decent young police officer murdered by people that wouldnt be fit to tie his boots.

    but as i said before,...if Ronan Kerr wasnt a Roman Catholic or a GAA member there wouldnt be the same hypocrisy coming from those tripping over themselves and you to condemn his murder,..our history, whatever way you want to look at it,..proves it,....its not my narrow mindedness,..its just plain good old black and white truth and fact.

  • Comment number 17.

    Just to refocus on Wendy's question, yes I do think Ronan Kerr's murder will make Catholics think twice about joining the PSNI, particularly if they are young men in the GAA. I just hope we (and they) can get through this and keep moving forward instead of repeating the idiocy.

  • Comment number 18.


    why if they are particularly in the GAA????????

    who or what is it they fear?

    is it not time roman catholics turned and got of their kness and told theyre so called protectors,..they dont need them any more,...

    well its not as if they needed them in the first place,.but im sure youll get my point

  • Comment number 19.


    "The only people being contradictory are those tripping over themselves to condemn PC Kerr's murder,..eg:gaa..."

    So you will now retract your statement saying the GAA are contradictory in condemning the murder of one of its members. As for your previous posts; most of the topics you talk of, you bring in the term Roman or Catholic. Even the moderators referred your #13 for its downright bigoted content. You are anti-Catholic, and an analysis of your posts shows at the very least a hatred for Catholics and Catholicism. You have dragged this debate to your level. As canicomment said: Let's refocus on the topic. You can have the last word; let's hope the moderators don't remove it also!

  • Comment number 20.

    P.S. Is it any wonder you are usually the only contributor to this Blog!

  • Comment number 21.


    i will have the last word,..because at least it will be the truth,..im not anti roman catholic,nor have i any hatred of any one single roman catholic just because of their religion,this is the United Kingdom,..a free society to have whatever faith or none if you choose,.....

    you are right though as regarding the hierarchy and their nauseating want to rule over the people of this Island,...i hate and despise it and denounce their master with every single inch of my body ..and long for the day they leave this Island forever

  • Comment number 22.

    Bigotry at its finest!!!


  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Are we ever going to move on in N.I. since when has it become so important as to the religion of a murdered police officer. He was a police officer and many who shared his religion and served in the RUC were murdered in the past. Yet again we see terrorists trying to intimidate prospective candidates, the officers and their families in the PSNI, so that they can accuse them of bias. So what else is new, after all the previous perpetrators of this policy are now sitting in government, it worked for them, could there be a connection?

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    " .. Will Catholics still want to join the PSNI? .. "

    The reverse of what seems to be the aim of the bombers might happen .. ie. Catholics more determined to join up.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    24. At 23:35pm 6th Apr 2011, SeasonedLoyalist1andonly wrote:

    "so i'll salute with my thumb holding down my little finger and ring finger."


    Which, as most viewers of BBC's "QI" programme would know is a description of the Polish Army salute.

    What point were you trying to make...?

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Someone asked what the percentage of the RIC was Catholic. It was approximately 75%.

    Someone also complained about the abolition of 50/50. That rule was only necessary because of the vast number of recruits required. If the are recuiting only 50 or so at a time then it wont be necessary because press releases have shown there were Catholics who were as smart as Protestants applying, so there will more than likely be enough to make up a significant number of those appointed anyway. I don't think it will put Catholics off. My cousin is determined to make the PSNI his career dispite the risks.

  • Comment number 33.

    No dignity, no dialogue, no understanding and certainly no bravery here.


  • Comment number 34.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Comment number 35.

    Unfortunately I know 3 Catholic applicants to the PSNI who have withdrawn their applications. Not a good sign. The Provos also targeted Catholic Police Officers and murdered many.

  • Comment number 36.

    As obviously to see on here, the diehards have their go on each other.

  • Comment number 37.

    Those wicked idiots have had their day.The odd bomb scare we can live with,the taking of a young life,we can't.We live in changed times.We have to grow up and wise up,all of us.Two young squaddies taking delivery of a pizza...,..A young cop with a sense of community taken down by people we don't know or don't want to know.If you know them turn them in.It could be your turn next on the psysco tour.

  • Comment number 38.

    One more thing to those idiots.Young Ronan Kerr will always better than you.Always.

  • Comment number 39.

    Something's puzzling me about the manner in which this particular edition of The Blog has been moderated.
    Some of the comments which have been allowed to remain are, to put it mildly, confrontational. One of the comments which has been removed .. or has perhaps not even seen the light of day .. is this one ..

    26. At 16:25pm 7th Apr 2011, ardmajel wrote:
    This comment has been referred for further consideration

    I can't imagine that what was contained in this comment was more worthy of censorship than some of the surviving posts .. this contributor doesn't have a history of "Rule Breaking" that I would have been aware of.

    Just curious.

  • Comment number 40.

    Totally agree with Scybalous, ardmajel has never posted anything derogatory or controversial on this so called blog or any other forum. ardmajel has always been a constructive, informative and above all courteous poster.

    Just curious.

  • Comment number 41.

    Reading the great majority of sectarian prejudice on this blog, the insufferable hypocrisy of Gerry Adams commenting on the latest Republican outrage and noting the gradual rise of intolerance between the communities over the last 2 years just confirms what I and my Armed Forces comrades all thought about the so-called people & culture of Northern Ireland back in the 1970s - - the whole place is a throwback to the Middle Ages of abysmal ignorance & superstition - - no lessons seemed to have been learned from the 300 years of unrest ot the most recent 30 years of 'Troubles' and the rest of the UK should turn its back in disgust.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry you feel like that brush. We have moved on regardless of your negative view.

    Short clip to show how much:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9wTCmY8e9c&feature=related

  • Comment number 43.

    42. At 18:58pm 9th Apr 2011, Lady Candice wrote:
    "Sorry you feel like that brush. We have moved on regardless of your negative view."

    N.Ireland's Political Leadership: Adams, McGuiness, Robinson, Paisley...

    Admire Your optimism!

  • Comment number 44.

    To: Lady Candice & others

    Sorry, I really do wish all of you in N.Ireland every chance of peace & goodwill. My negativity is founded on experiences of many years ago and on reflection as I believe I've moved on in my life what gives me any right to suggest people of the 6 counties have not managed to do so?

    So, again, humble apologies.. I'm old & going daft!

  • Comment number 45.

    You seem to have a long way to go Ireland & N.Ireland, I sincerely hope you find your peace. However, if you trully want that you need to forget your history in order to write your future.

    It's always going to be hardest on your generation (highly doubt there's anyone under the age of 30 on this thread), all too easy to hold on to your past.

  • Comment number 46.

    This region always seems to be in a bit of a pickle- through tribalism defined by nation & religion. People just swallowed up by delusion & myth. Yet,Sinn Fein has more in common with a very moderate form of inclusive Anglicanism than the Catholic Church -which has more in common with the DUP. Then there's a population where a majority of people are employed & paid by UK Government paychecks- civil service, teaching profession, NHS, police.Then you have those employed by the UK private sector -retail for example-the big supermarkets, department stores.Then there are those on disability, unemployed on government support and many families living in Government built & owned housing on subsidised rent. Seems to be for some , this isn't enough.They need to bring myth to life, they need the adrenalin of conflict and the ego boost of feeling like a GI Joe. The reality is people in the south are more interested in jobs and the financial security of their children than a loopy testosterone fuelled minority they wouldn't want damaging their future prospects. Anyway, isn't it better have 2 Irelands rather than one. I just see it as being a plus rather than a subtraction.And I hope Kerr stands as a symbol for others to stand up and look after their community from the mentally weak & deranged types that killed him


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