The Irish Republican Socialist Party has said that it has received complaints from parents expressing concern at the decision of a local primary school in west Belfast to permit the PSNI to “ingratiate themselves” with children during school hours.
It said children were allowed to handle dangerous equipment, but that none of the parents concerned were consulted by the school in Clonard.
IRSP spokesperson Michael Kelly said the unauthorised exploitation of children was “offensive, unjustifiable and wrong”, particularly given the wave of harassment operations which have been mounted against republican families in the streets around the school in recent times.
The incident follows a series of house raids and street searches as well as local accounts of the PSNI ‘stalking’ school runs, and other forms of harassment.
The IRSP accused the PSNI of attempting to isolate republican families from their neighbours and said it is seeking a meeting with school authorities.
“The homes of local children have been stormed by heavily armed and aggressive PSNI swat teams leaving children traumatised and psychologically damaged,” Mr Kelly said.
“School authorities will be aware of these incidents as they have been well documented in the press.
“They should also be aware therefore that to allow the same armed thugs access to what should be a safe space for children, risks re-traumatising the victims of politically motivated abuse and aggression.”
Claims by the PSNI to be concerned with child welfare were rejected.
“This amounts to no less than the exploitation of local children for political ends,” Mr Kelly said. “The IRSP opposes such despicable practices and asks the school authorities to reconsider the practice of granting such people access to children.”
Elsewhere, a number of Tyrone families have protested about a planned ‘training’ scheme being run by the PSNI through the Coalisland Fianna GAA Club and the Clonoe Boxing Club.
Saoradh said there had been increasing attempts in the area to legitimise the PSNI as “the front line force of British colonialism” within nationalist communities.
They pointed to stop and search abuse by the PSNI, their working with MI5 to encourage young people to become informers and efforts to marginalise and ostracise the children and families of republicans.
“The history of the Crown Forces in Coalisland, Tyrone and indeed Ireland is well known. It is a history of murder, intimidation, coercion and oppression. The PSNI continues where its predecessor the RUC left off,” they said in a letter to both organisations.
“There has been a steady agenda at play now for over a decade, within the establishment of the GAA and driven by British policy to infiltrate and divert the very nature of the GAA. We have witnessed the forces that murdered Aiden McAnespie, now use the funding to corrupt and attempt to change the basic Irish Nationalism that underpinned the association.
“We have seen the GAA used, especially in County Tyrone, in an attempt to normalise the presence of the Crown Forces in areas, where for years they brought terror, fear and misery.
“Saoradh will oppose all attempts by the British Crown Forces to cynically use locally organised Irish institutions to normalise their presence and role as enforcers of British Rule.”