A few weeks back Jim Allister kicked off a small storm by highlighting the remarks of Assistant Chief Constable KERR:
“In blunt terms, a perceived unwillingness on the part of the Association to change to the more generic “Police Athletic Association Northern Ireland” may result in a failure to secure the grants on which this Association is financially dependent”.
Someone, it seems, though they remain unnamed, has been suggesting that the RUC Athletic Association (based at New Forge) might face problems with future funding if they don’t change their name… Or it would seem that way since the First Minister has gone to the trouble of pulling in the Finance and Justice Ministers. His full statement below:
“Following the proposal to rename the RUC Athletic Association, I have had discussions with both the Finance Minister and the Justice Minister. I underscored my view that any assessment of a business case from the RUC AA should consider solely the work it does, not what the organisation is called. Both Ministers agreed that the name of the organisation would not have any adverse impact on future funding applications.
It would be wholly wrong for members to enter Thursday’s meeting with a view that they were being strong-armed by government funders to change the name. Anyone who says the RUC AA name is damaging government funding opportunities is entirely wrong.
Whilst the name of the organisation is a matter for the members, I know many Association members have been concerned about the drive to change the name. I trust this will clarify matters and assist them to take their decision based on the facts.”
Hmmm… presumably the arms length bodies will continue to stick to the usual custom and practice?
However as Mr Allister points out this afternoon, the Assistant Chief Constable is keeping quiet about who exactly has threatened such action…
But here, laying the threats to one side for a moment, why does the New Forge leisure complex retain the name of a force that went out of existence more than ten years ago?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty