Irish Republican News · May 21, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Arthurs arrest ‘political policing’

Sinn Féin has criticised the PSNI after a prominent republican was arrested during a raid on addresses in County Armagh and in Dungannon, County Tyrone.

Sinn Féin’s spokesman on policing, Alex Maskey, accused the PSNI of mounting a heavy-handed arrest operation.

He said that six PSNI Land Rovers, a van and four unmarked cars arrived at the home of Tyrone republican Brian Arthurs and arrested him.

He added: “This is completely unacceptable and is not the behaviour of an acceptable policing service.”

Mr Maskey said he had contacted the British government to complain about the arrest operation.

“There is currently a very difficult situation in the area caused entirely by the conduct of the PSNI.”

Later, ultra-hardline unionist MEP Jim Allister, who defected from Ian Paisley`s DUP in protest at power-sharing, said Sinn Féin were retreating to their old ways and challenging the rule of law after the arrest.

Mr Maskey said Sinn Féin “will not take lectures on anything, let alone policing” from Mr Allister.

“Aside from his spat with his former colleagues in the DUP I am not prepared to stand by and allow him to try and distort the Sinn Féin position.

“Sinn Féin support accountable and acceptable policing. What we do not support is bad, repressive or political policing.

“When the conduct of the PSNI drops below the standard we expect then it is our duty as public representatives to call the policing service to account.

“Sinn Féin are not joining policing structures to rubber stamp the decisions taken by the PSNI leadership. Our job is to provide a robust and effective accountability mechanism.

“Sinn Féin will not shy away from speaking out when we feel that it is necessary. That is difference between ourselves and others who have been sitting on the Policing board for years.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News