Charles praises ‘courage and heroism’ of RUC as commemoration service held

The Prince of Wales sent a message to mark 100 years since the RUC was formed, which was marked with a commemoration service at St Anne’s Cathedral.

29 May 2022

The Prince of Wales has praised the “acts of courage and heroism” of former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers at a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the police force.

Charles sent a message to mark 100 years since the RUC was formed, which was marked on Sunday with a commemoration service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast organised by the RUC George Cross Foundation.

He said: “In this centenary year, it is deeply appropriate that we mark together the sacrifices, honour the acts of courage and heroism and pay tribute to the achievements of all those who served in the RUC.

“We remember particularly the widows and families and those who supported the serving personnel with such fortitude and devotion.”

The RUC was formed on June 1 1922, after the disbanding of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

As part of the wider peace process, the RUC became the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Charles spoke about recently meeting members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation, which he is patron of.

“It was a meeting that has left an indelible impression on me and, while I cannot be in Belfast today, please know that you are all very much in my thoughts as you commemorate this centenary of policing in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Hundreds of people attended the service, including church and political leaders.

Fionnuala Jay O’Boyle, the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, represented the Queen.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne was expected to attend the service, as well as former PSNI chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was also at the event in Belfast.

A garda spokesperson confirmed that he received a formal invitation to attend the service.

In a sermon at the service, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, John McDowell, expressed his own gratitude for the dedication of those who served.

Archbishop McDowell told the congregation: “They did it to keep their families safe, and because it was their conviction that if they didn’t serve, then the future was either going to be in the hands of a revolutionary junta or a rabble of gangsters and drug dealers. Both groups would have swept away much of what officers of the RUC GC have held dear.

“There is hardly a parish church in the dioceses where I served that does not have a grave in the churchyard or a memorial in the church building to a member of the RUC who was murdered, some in the most horrific of circumstances.

“Deaths which achieved nothing except to break hearts.”

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