DUBLIN -- Ireland's Catholic bishops have renewed their opposition to the abolition of a special fifty-fifty Catholic-Protestant recruitment policy for the Police Service of Northern Ireland later this month.
In a statement following its spring general meeting, the bishops' conference noted that "recruitment challenges remain for the PSNI as there is continued underrepresentation of Catholics in the senior ranks of the PSNI."
"The current level of 29 percent Catholic membership of the PSNI is not sufficiently representative of the community background of the workforce in Northern Ireland," the bishops said.
The equal recruitment scheme was introduced as part of the 1998 peace agreement when the Royal Ulster Constabulary was replaced by the newly formed Police Service of Northern Ireland. At the time, the Constabulary drew more than 90 percent of its membership from the Protestant community, and Catholics frequently complained of discrimination and intimidation.