Irish Republican News · May 29, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI accused of harassment

PSNI police have raided the home of a Strabane republican in an escalation of tensions between local republicans and the force.

Local IRSP leader Willie Gallagher said masked police using laser sighted guns forced their way into the house and forced the family outside.

He said anti-agreement republicans were aware of an increase in the surveillance and harassment of people opposed to the Good Friday Agreement since Sinn Féin joined the Policing Board.

“Anti-agreement republicans will not sit idly back and allow PSNI members to live in our community whilst this continues,” he said.

“Is this the type of behaviour that constitutes a new beginning to policing?”

Mr Gallagher also asked whether the PSNI believed young people from republican areas would join following such house searches.

He said an IRSP member was confronted by officers shouting “armed police” early on Saturday.

He said that as each family member was removed from the house, the red dots from laser gun sights could be seen on their bodies.

A PSNI spokesman admitted carrying out the raid, and said a search warrant was properly served.

“We are investigating comments alleged to have been made in relation to police officers and other members of the community,” he said.

It is claimed that the target of the raid had said PSNI members should not live in the County Tyrone town.


Meanwhile, a former Sinn Féin mayor of Derry is to join the party’s first three assembly representatives on the Policing Board.

Gearoid O hEara is one of the independent members of the board appointed yesterday by Northern Secretary Peter Hain.

Sinn Féin had already announced that former Belfast lord mayor Alex Maskey and fellow assembly members Martina Anderson and Daithi McKay would be the party’s political representatives on the board.

This followed the party’s controversial decision to support British policing in the Six Counties for the first time.

The Policing Board, which is made up of 10 political representatives and nine independent members, has a supervisory and advisory role with the PSNI.

As Sinn Féin prepared for the first full board meeting, Daithi McKay said his party “will ask the awkward questions and demand that we get straight answers.

“The prize of a truly accountable and representative policing service which serves the entire community is achievable and I believe that our contribution on the Policing Board will be key to achieving this goal.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News