Protests over policing in Strabane
Protests over policing in Strabane

The first meeting of Strabane's District Policing Partnership (DPP) was adjourned twice last night due to a protest by dissident republicans.

A group of about 30 dissident republicans protested by waving tricolours and placards outside, and inside interrupted proceedings causing the meeting to be halted twice.

Earlier yesterday an independent member of the new community policing board was targeted in a hoax bomb attack, believed to have been carried out by dissidents.

Before the meeting started about 50 Sinn Féin supporters had also staged a less confrontational protest. Republicans have withheld support for the policing board while negotiations continue in Belfast to secure the full implementation of policing reform.

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty, who defended his party's decision to stage a protest at last night's meeting, described the latest attack as a ``cynical attempt'' by dissidents to embarrass Sinn Féin.

``Sinn Féin has repeatedly stated our abhorrence at these attacks on DPP members and I am now once again registering my disgust at this latest attack,'' he said.

Three Catholic members of District Policing Partnerships have already resigned due to threats and intimidation. Mrs McCrea said she would not be deterred from remaining on the DPP and attended the first public meeting of the body last night.

``I will still be on the DPP. I thought the days of the faceless men in the 1970s had gone, but they are still here, but they are not going to deter me,'' she added.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News