Irish Republican News · February 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Psy-ops linked to Tyrone operation

A County Tyrone family has spoken of their terror following a prolonged British Army/PSNI invasion and occupation of their homes.

Sinn Féin has suggested the operation may have been a deliberate attempt by forces within the British administration to raise tensions within the nationalist community.

The marathon raid took place at the family’s three adjoining homes in the hills above Beragh, west Tyrone.

The Donnelly family were cordoned into their homes for the duration of the searches, during which nohing was found.

The high-profile search operation came as the report of the Independent Monitoring Commission blamed the Provisional IRA for the Northern bank raid in Belfast before Christmas.

The warrant had specifically referred to the Northern Bank raid and stated that police were acting on “intelligence”.

For almost 36 hours up to 100 police and soldiers scoured their houses and property, including the adjoining business premises of Donnelly Breakers.

Scuba divers searched bogs and duck ponds, and dug up earth with a special digger.

The family were shocked at the implication.

Terry Donnelly, a plasterer by trade, said all his brothers were also in business, and expressed his concern that the raid might affect their livelihoods.

“Everybody missed work, there was nobody allowed out of the house (during the search),” he said.

“This is a mixed area. We have a lot of Protestant neighbours that we do work for, and they must be thinking: ‘what’s going on?’.”

Mr Donnelly said the family had initially thought the connection with the Northern raid was a joke.

“Then we realised as it was getting deeper and deeper that it was not a prank,” he said.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that no-one had been arrested and that no items had been seized during the search.

Sinn Féin assembly member for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff went to the offices of British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy to demand that he apologise to the family.

“They deserve an apology for this attempt to blacken their character,” he said.

“There is no evidence linking this ordinary, hard-working family with the Northern Bank robbery, so that was preposterous in the first place.

“But I think the timing was something special. It created a climate and an atmosphere, and I believe it was designed to do so.

“I also think people are more intelligent than the British government give them credit for.

“It is just an awful pity that ordinary families have to suffer so that governments can play games.

“I am very confident that the communities in Roscavey and Beragh, who have already expressed their support for the Donnelly family, will continue to do so,” Mr McElduff said.

“This is a family who would shun the spotlight but who have been made the centre of attention against their will.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News