PSNI stage bogus alert at Derry pub
PSNI stage bogus alert at Derry pub

The manager of a pub in Derry popular with republicans has questioned the motivation behind a so-called ‘security alert’ at the premises on Tuesday, saying it was “pure PSNI/RUC intimidation”.

Cathal Morrison of Molly Maguire’s, former the 720 on the junction of William Street and Chamberlain Street, said he wasn’t given time to secure the premises properly after being warned by the PSNI of a bomb scare there.

He said the bar was shut for four hours and he lost a four figure sum in trade. Other local business owners have also criticised the operation, in which a ‘suspicious object’ was exposed as a child’s plastic gun.

More than twenty homes and businesses were cleared along High Street, Harvey Street, and the top of Waterloo Street and a British Army technical team was deployed.

The PSNI said later the alert was caused by an “imitation firearm”.

One local businessman said: “This street is bad enough without this going on. Is all this really necessary for a toy gun probably left over from Halloween?”

Mr Morrison said; “The PSNI came into the pub and told me it was a bomb scare. They insisted we leave immediately. When I tried to put the shutters down they told me to leave immediately or I would be dragged away.”

“At that stage they were still saying there was a bomb at the corner of the building but officers were standing very close to it. Everytime I moved to keep an eye on the premises they moved a PSNI vehicle to block my sightline. I want to know why the Army Technical Officers were close to the door of the pub if the ‘suspect device’ was at the corner of the building.”

Mr Morrison also claimed that his staff have been harassed by the PSNI, who repeatedly ask them about the bar.

“Since I took the bar lease in May, the PSNI have been targeting the bar. They drive past several times a day, slow and menacingly. They stop staff on their way to and from work, we have countless Prevention of Terrorism forms from these encounters. I want to know the real reason this operation was carried out. It was pure PSNI/RUC intimidation.”

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