Policing tensions spill over in Derry
Policing tensions spill over in Derry

Two devices were planted by the ‘Real IRA’ outside the homes of relatives of a Catholic PSNI member in Derry on Friday.

The attacks, which were strongly condemned by Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney, PSNI chiefs and other political figures in the North, saw the homes of the sister and the parents of a serving Catholic member of the PSNI in Derry targeted.

The 32 County Sovereignty Committee defended the planting of the two devices, one of which exploded, damaging a vehicle. It said they were “a direct response” to an incident which happened last week.

In a message placed on the group’s Derry website, the incident was blamed on the activities of the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group (TSG) and had followed a number of warnings about the harassment of the families of dissident republicans in the area.

It stated that a female member of a republican family was forced “to kneel on the ground in the mud and a machine gun was place to her head by the RUC/PSNI.

“Her partner was beaten in front of her by members of the TSG bully squads.

“The car bomb was a direct response to this incident. The RIRA has sent a clear and decisive message to British police officers who target republican families.”

Sinn Féin Assembly member Raymond McCartney condemned the attacks. He said the family of local PSNI man Neil Gallagher were “a part of our community”.

“While most people are working to build a peaceful future it would seem that a minuscule and unrepresentative group think that by carrying out cowardly actions based on spurious excuses, they will frustrate continued progress.

“They will not succeed and should stop their activity before it leads to the killing of more innocent people.”

Using a recognised codeword, the ‘Real IRA’ also admitted responsibility for a punishment shooting. It said the victim had been previously ordered to leave Derry for “anti-social” activities. The group has been behind four such shootings in recent weeks and months.

Meanwhile, a prominent republican has been cleared of assaulting the PSNI at Derry Magistrate’s Court for a fourth time.

Gary Donnelly was accused of attacking three members of the PSNI who brought him to court over a protest at the Raytheon arms manufacturing company in August 2006.

However, a defence barrister said there were between 16 and 17 inconsistencies in the PSNI evidence, and pointed to identical lines in the PSNI statements as an indication of an agreed story.

Mr Donnelly said he turned to acknowledge his father when he was “wrestled to ground” by the four police PSNI men.

He said that one officer had said “let’s give Donnelly a kicking”, but he added that he believed that was to annoy him and not a serious threat.

Judge Mervyn Bates said he could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt and dismissed the case.

Speaking outside the court, Gary Donnelly said this was the fourth occasion he had been acquitted of assaulting the PSNI.

“These cases show that nothing has changed as regards policing and they still feel that they can target republicans with impunity.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News