Vicious wave of Garda repression
SF members arrested and beaten
A concerted wave of repression against Sinn Fein members in
Dublin this week has left major suspicions that a political
agenda is operating within the Garda.
Two local Sinn Fein Directors of Elections were arrested in early
morning raids at their homes, while the home of overall Dublin
Director of Elections, Derek Sweetman, was subjected to a Garda
These raids and arrests followed the arrest of a number of Sinn
Fein Youth activists in Dublin city centre, all of whom were
beaten by gardai.
At 6am on Monday morning plainclothes gardai raided the homes of
Dublin Sinn Fein Director of Elections Derek Sweetman, Alan
Donnelly who is Director of Elections for his brother and Sinn
Fein local election candidate Paul Donnelly, and Michael Reilly,
Director of Elections for Nicky Keogh, a Sinn Feín election
candidate in Cabra.
Up to eight Garda detectives descended on the home of Michael
Reilly, his partner Ruth and their five children at Dunard in the
north of the city. A babysitter and her infant child were also
The gardai produced a warrant and claimed to be looking for
firearms. During the raid two of Reilly's children who have
special needs were confined to a bedroom and were extremely
frightened. Gardai refused a number of requests by Mick and Ruth
to be allowed to take them from the room.
Mick Reilly was eventually arrested and taken to Santry Garda
barracks allegedly for `witholding information'. He was
repeatedly slapped around the head during interrogation and
punched in the chest leaving him extensively brusied. He was
released on Tuesday evening without charge.
Meanwhile in Clonsilla Alan Donnelly's home was raided and he was
arrested for firearms offences which allegedly took place six
months ago. Donnelly was taken to Santry barracks but was
released without charge on Tuesday evening.
The arrests of Sinn Féin Youth activists took place last Friday
night when seven members of SFY were waiting for a taxi on
Dublin's O'Connell Street. They were approached by a uniformed
garda who questioned them as to their destination. He accused one
of those present of abusive behaviour towards him and as a Garda
van pulled up Pearse Doherty was arrested. When the other people
remonstrated, all of them- two men and two women - were arrested
and put into the van where three gardai beat them with batons.
On arrival at Store Street Garda barracks the youths were kicked
and thumped by gardai and one was knocked unconscious. Phone
calls and a doctor were requested but this was refused.
Eventually only one of the arrested youths, Matt Carthy, was
allowed to see a doctor.
A Special Branch detective visited each of the youths separately
at Store Street. He kicked one of the young men and called the
women `dirty Provo bitches'.
Three of the youths were released at 3am on Saturday morning,
while two of the men appeared in court the same day charged with
a number of minor public order offences.
Pearse Doherty, who was refused access to a solicitor despite
repeated requests at Store Street, was remanded to Mountjoy
Prison. When a solicitor attempted to visit Doherty at the prison
he was told that he was not there. Doherty was eventually
released at lunch-time on Tuesday.
Matt Carthy, Chairperson of Sinn Fein Youth in Dublin, has said
that the arrests were linked to incidents surrounding the Sinn
Féin Youth conference several weeks ago when a number of
confrontations with gardai took place over harassment of youth
activists. He said that certain gardai now had an agenda to
harass and brutalise members of Sinn Fein Youth and were
particularly vindictive of late. Their campaign, he said, would
Dublin Sinn Fein Chairperson Sean Brady has slammed the raids and
arrests. He said: ``It is significant that three Sinn Fein
Directors of Elections were arrested in areas where the party
intends to make major gains in the local elections next June. As
party activity is steadily stepped up across Dublin we have
witnessed a parallell upsurge in Garda hrrassment of our members.
``It is a similar situation with Sinn Fein Youth. Gardai seem to
be outraged as the growing strength and presence of Sinn Fein
Youth in this city and some gardai to be attempting to force it
``Sinn Fein is set to become a major force in this city and we
will not be deterred by the actions of gardai pursuing a
political agenda of their own. But at the end of the day it is up
to the government to make these bully boys accountable.''