Irish Republican News · December 28, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: PSNI target Christmas celebrations
PSNI target Christmas celebrations

seanmcglinchey.jpg

A County Derry Sinn Fein councillor has accused the PSNI police of harassment after his brother’s house was raided on Christmas Eve, while the family of an eirigi activist were kept apart for the holiday by bizarre bail demands.

Former mayor of Limavady, Sean McGlinchey hit out after his brother Paul’s home, which is near Toomebridge in County Antrim, was sealed off for several hours on Monday as the property was raided.

Another house and a farmyard in nearby Portglenone were also sealed off and searched. The men are brothers of murdered INLA chief Dominic McGlinchey and Paul is a former member of Sinn Fein who left the party in 2006 over its stance on policing.

Paul McGlinchey’s wife Cindy was treated in hospital after being injured during the raid. She was pinned to the wall and had her left arm, which was removed from plaster last week after she was injured by a horse, forcibly dragged up behind her back. “At no time did they tell me they had a warrant,” she said.

Former republican prisoner Paul McGlinchey said two of his daughters who were in the house were left “traumatised” by the incident. “It destroyed Christmas for everyone,” he said.

His brother said he would raise questions about Monday’s raid with the PSNI.

“This was a disgrace on Christmas Eve,” he said. “Especially when you consider this warrant was signed on December 18 and the search could have been carried out any time.

“I am a member of Sinn Fein and I support the position on talking to the police but this is harassment of people on Christmas Eve.”

The Sinn Fein councillor, who was influential in encouraging republicans in County Derry to support the party’s policing policy, said the incident would have an impact on “public confidence”.

“How are you ever going to build public confidence in the police after things like this?” he said. “This sets things back. Me and other members of my family are disgusted.”

VINDICTIVE BAIL CONDITIONS REJECTED

Meanwhile, a member of eirigi has spent Christmas behind bars after refusing to accept punitive PSNI bail conditions imposed upon him at a court hearing in Belfast High Court last week.

Newry man Stephen Murney is currently being held in Maghaberry prison since being arrested and imprisoned three weeks ago. The socialist republican is strenuously contesting the charges against him, centred on allegations that he had photographs of police members on his computer amounting to “terrorist” information.

His lawyers sought to have him released on bail. The presiding judge agreed to his release on bail but, at the behest of the PSNI, then agreed to impose a wide series of very stringent conditions upon him. Following a consultation with his lawyers, Mr Murney indicated that these conditions were totally unacceptable.

In a statement, Eirigi General Secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith said: “Today’s bail hearing again demonstrated the very flimsy and nebulous nature of the charges on which Stephen Murney is being held. I had an opportunity to speak with Stephen this afternoon after he had been visited by his mother, his wife and his young son.

“Stephen is married with a young son. The extreme conditions which the court sought to impose upon him included not being permitted to live in his own home with his own family. Among the many other conditions were stipulations that he could not live in, or enter Newry at any time; had to live several miles away from his wife and young son; report daily to a PSNI barracks in Newtownhamilton; live under a strict curfew and wear an electronic tagging device.

“Stephen said that these conditions meant that he would have only the most minimal contact with his wife and young son and that forcing him to live elsewhere was solely designed to penalise his family.

“Stephen also said that as he is totally innocent of the charges laid against him. He is not prepared to permit either himself or his family to be humiliated by the courts or the PSNI. Neither is he prepared to be branded as a criminal by wearing an electronic tagging device.

“This is a very principled position which Stephen has taken. It is also a very difficult one, particularly at this time of the year, as Christmas is a time when families should be together and not be kept apart as a result of draconian measures imposed by courts in response to demands by the PSNI.

“The charges against Stephen are directly related to him taking photographs of PSNI harassment at a protest in Newry and having three uniforms belonging to a band. We have no doubt that the PSNI case against Stephen will eventually collapse and be completely exposed as a totally vindictive, fabricated and unjust action.”

© 2012 Irish Republican News