Tensions increase across North
Tensions increase across North

There has been a general increase in tension across the North following the arrival of the new PSNI chief, Matt Baggott.

The crown forces have been described as “jumpy” following reports of a plan by republican armed groups to attack a British Army base.

In Coleraine, there was outrage this week after two sons of murdered Coleraine community worker Kevin McDaid were arrested by the PSNI.

Mr McDaid was killed in May by a UDA mob who also left his friend, Damien Fleming, critically injured.

Mr McDaid’s two sons were arrested by the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch detectives in connection with the attacks, as well as attacks on their mother and a neighbour.

The extraordinary intervention by the PSNI has fuelled sectarian tension in the town, said to be at its highest since the murder of Mr McDaid.

Trouble flared on Sunday as nationalist residents returned home from watching a football match. Clashes were reported involving the families of those charged in connection with the murder.

The Celtic fans, including Damien Fleming, said the PSNI had then “pushed them” up the road towards their homes and when trouble broke out one man was left with a broken arm and another received a black eye and bruising to his back.

One of those attacked, Martin Kennedy said he would make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s office.

His brother, Daniel, said he and a friend had been pushed to the ground by a PSNI riot squad.


A bomb threat against Newry courthouse caused a major incident this week. A vehicle containing beer kegs was cordoned off for several hours before the incident was declared an “elaborate hoax”.

Sinn Fein’s Brendan Curran condemned those responsible.

“Yet again the only victims of this type of activity are members of the local community. Many roads in Newry are backed up with traffic delaying some commuters travelling into the town by over an hour,” he said.

“How does this massive inconvenience to the community further the struggle for a United Ireland?”

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy described the bomb alert as a “symbolic attack on the courts of justice while talks are ongoing over the devolution of policing and justice powers”.

Meanwhile, a constant stream of reports of PSNI harassment has included a Sinn Fein worker, who said he was treated vindictively by the PSNI.

Barry McNally, who is chairperson of West Tyrone Ogra Shinn Fein, was detained for 40 minutes after being stopped at a checkpoint near Moy. He said he would raise the incident with Dungannon District Policing Partnership.

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© 2009 Irish Republican News