Irish Republican News · August 18, 2006
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: PSNI under fire
PSNI under fire

The PSNI police have been strongly criticised after raiding two homes in a violent manner in Dungiven, County Derry. The door of one home was broken apart and the contents ransacked while the woman resident was at work.

Local Sinn Féin assembly member Francie Brolly said a woman was only informed of the raid by neighbours.

“It is wholly unacceptable that the PSNI conducted a search of the home with no-one present to witness or verify their actions whilst in the home,” he said.

Mr Brolly has lodged a complaint with the office of the Police Ombudsman.

PSNI REFUSE TO ACT

Meanwhile, the Police Ombudsman is to investigate claims that members of the PSNI police refused to arrest those suspected of taking part in a sectarian arson attack which left two Catholic families homeless.

Ombudsman investigators this week took statements from the McManus and McCall families, whose homes on the Whitewell Road in north Belfast were badly damaged in June 2005.

Seven children and four adults escaped serious injury when petrol tanks at the rear of their homes were set alight engulfing the houses in flames.

The houses were severely damaged.

However, both families have now made a complaint to Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan, pictured, stating that the PSNI failed to properly investigate the attack.

One complaint is that the PSNI failed to arrest three suspects who they were told were hiding in a nearby school.

“When police arrived they were told there were guys changing their clothes in the neighbouring school,” Mandy McCall said.

“They were clearly visible from the window of a neighbouring house but the police refused to do anything.”

The two families had to leave their homes for six months while repairs were carried out.

However, they were outraged when the PSNI denied that the attacks were sectarian.

“We couldn’t believe it when the police tried to say we were not the targets and that our oil tanks had not been set on fire,” Joan McManus said.

“I actually saw the oil tanks on fire from my bedroom window as I tried to get my kids to safety.

“The firemen told us we would all have died if we had not got out when we did.

“Because police would not admit the attack was sectarian we were refused compensation.

“They only overturned that decision when we threatened to take Hugh Orde to court.”

‘POWER MAD’

The PSNI may face legal action after banning a republican from entering Derry last weekend.

The threat of a judicial review comes one month after the High Court in Belfast ruled that Paddy Murray’s exclusion from the city in a similar incident last year was unlawful.

On each occasion, Mr Murray was detained at a checkpoint and stopped from entering Derry while an Apprentice Boys parade was taking place.

He said yesterday: “Last year when they stopped me, it was under section 84, which the court deemed to be unlawful. This time, they used section 44 of the 2000 Terrorism Act.

“They are using me as a guinea pig to tweak their laws just to see if they have the power to do these things.”

“There is a lot of talk about things changing. The Diplock courts are going, they say. But the police are being given more power all the time and no one is complaining about that.”

PSNI ‘SHOT SURRENDERING MAN’

The Police Ombudsman has been investigating claims that a car thief shot dead by the PSNI had his hands raised in the air at the time.

Stephen Colwell was shot dead on April 16. He was driving a BMW that had been stolen earlier that morning in the coastal village of Ballyhornan in County Down.

Closed-circuit television cameras outside Ballynahinch PSNI barracks, the scene of the killing, mysteriously failed to record the incident.

Colwell’s vehicle became wedged between concrete bollards and a second car that blocked its escape from behind. The second car had been following the BMW for more than 16 kilometres.

When a PSNI officer opened fire, the stolen BMW had already ground to a halt.

STORY DOUBTED

The relatives of a Belfast man struck by a PSNI Land Rover have said the vehicle was travelling on the wrong side of the road when the incident took place.

Robbie Bryans of Twinbrook was crossing the Stewartstown Road in the west of the city when he was knocked down by the Land Rover. 49-year-old Bryans miraculously survived the collision and is in stable condition in hospital.

Al Bryans, the victim’s brother, said: “He saw the Land Rover coming and skipped to get to the footpath and was hit by the Land Rover.”

Last June, the 29-year-old west Belfast man Jim McMenamin, was killed after being hit by a PSNI Land Rover as he crossed the upper Springfield Road.

The Police Ombudsman’s office is still investigating Mr McMenamin’s death.

© 2006 Irish Republican News