Irish Republican News · May 15, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
British choppers engage in suspicious activity

British army helicopters being flown in rural County Tyrone at night-time, apparently as part of preparations for “foreign” war zones, are infuriating residents.

Sinn Féin assembly member for West Tyrone Barry McElduff said residents were “livid”.

“I have written to the deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, Peter Hain and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern asking for their absolute assurances that this practice will come to an end,” he said.

Michael Fahy, who lives in Ballynahatty between Omagh and Fintona, said he and his wife were woken up by the sound of two helicopters at around 1.30am in the morning

Mr Fahy said the noise of the helicopters was “absolutely deafening”.

A British army spokesman denied the flights were to prepare for operations in Iraq.

“In general terms any training is planned to take place to cover a multitude of scenarios to cover a wide spectrum of situations in any theatre worldwide,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ogra Shinn Féin has accused the PSNI of harassment of its members after an Ogra activist in Strabane was arrested late on Friday night.

The Republican Youth organisation has said that uniformed members of the PSNI harassed a well know member on his way home from a night out.

Speaking about the incident the youth, who does not wish to be identified. said he had been pinned up to a wall while he was forcibly searched before being thrown into the back of a PSNI landrover, where hbe received facial injuries.

The incident was apparently provoked when PSNI members believed the young republican had taken photos of them with his mobile phone, a claim which was strongly denied.

John McDermott, spokesperson for Ogra Shinn Féin An Srath Ban has slammed the PSNI for their actions over the weekend.

“The actions of the PSNI over the weekend were totally unacceptable and deplorable; we had thought this sort of heavy handed tactics were embedded firmly in the past. Is this the policing service that a community not only wants, but needs? I think not.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News