I REMEMBER the Black Mountain 20 years ago with its message for the Queen when she arrived to give the George Cross to the RUC. “Cross of Shame”.
I remember the media flocking to victims of the RUC to get their “point of view”. 20 years since the PSNI was established is like a blink of an eye. Unless you are one of those families, forgotten about the day after that attention.
I remember one of those families with Neilly Rooney at its head speaking about the killing of his nine-year-old son in his home by the RUC. And I think about how he spoke with such dignity, telling how there was not only murder but also a cover-up to prevent justice. Neilly is passed now and his family continue to seek justice. This year the Police Ombudsman said there should have been justice, but the passage of time has meant this is impossible now. Shame indeed.
Another was the family of Pearse Jordan. A family that has spent more time in court rooms in Belfast, London and Strasbourg than any other. Hugh, Pearse’s dad, was the most formidable of spokespersons, not allowing anyone to denigrate his son or his memory and standing up for the rule of law. Hugh is dead now, but the PSNI stand indicted of perpetuating the cover-up of Pearse’s killing. Another indelible shame.
The PSNI was founded on the promise of a new beginning, but for families like the Rooneys and the Jordans and so many others it feels exactly the same.
On the Ormeau Road there are many families who await a report into RUC collusion with loyalist killers. This report is overdue and held up by the PSNI.

This week the families were told that the RUC  is threatening to introduce Public Interest Immunity Certificates to prevent its publication.
The RUC are using secret courts to prevent the publication of a report about loyalist murder squad killings, in order to protect members of the RUC. That is not a new beginning.
The rank and file of the PSNI has a representative body – the Police Federation – and it voted to reject the Stormont House Agreement legacy proposals. This was in the face of regular commentary that legacy is undermining the PSNI. It was in the face of its own Chief Constable, the Lord Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions all calling for implementation of the proposals for the good of policing and criminal justice. Why? To protect the reputation of the RUC. That is not a new beginning.
In April there was civil unrest at the Springfield Road interface and the PSNI resorted to the use of plastic bullets. Those bullets bring with them not just the current risk to life and limb, but the living memory of many. The living memory of the family of Norah McCabe, who live on the Springfield Road, who to this day have not had an effective investigation into the killing of their wife and mother and continue to campaign for a ban on plastic bullets. While plastic bullets remain in the armoury there is no new beginning.
Legacy, and its accompanying apparatus of cover-up and weaponry, needs taken out of the PSNI today and a new beginning might be possible.