Irish Republican News · July 20, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Can’t police, won’t police - Lurgan PSNI
Can’t police, won’t police - Lurgan PSNI

A PSNI police chief has admitted he has not even questioned the individual he blames for his decision to force an anti-Catholic march through Lurgan last week.

Superintendent Alan McCrum ignored a Parades Commission ruling to redirect the parade past the point legally permitted by the Parades Commission on the evening of July 13.

McCrum has blamed a supporter of the march who partly blocked the intended route with his car.

“In my judgment the best decision was to allow the parade to traverse an extra portion of the route to avoid serious disorder taking place,” he said.

Mr McCrum confirmed that the driver of the car that partly blocked the route had locked it and then “walked off into the (Protestant) crowd” with the keys.

“We were comfortable that we would be able to identify afterwards the owner and driver of the car because we knew the details of the car,” he said.

“My view would be that there was not an necessity to arrest at the time. That almost certainly would have exacerbated public disorder.”

Mr McCrum refused to confirm whether unionist paramilitaries were among the parade’s supporters but rejected claims that he had ‘caved in’ to a threat of violence by not adhering to the commission’s determination.

Sinn Féin assembly member John O’Dowd last night pointed out that the issue of the car was a “red herring”.

“It was obvious to those on the ground that the parade was going to go further than intended,” he said.

“He (Mr McCrum) is basically saying he gave into a loyalist mob. Is that what policing is going to be about in the 21st century?”

© 2004 Irish Republican News