Brady family protest at policing meeting
Brady family protest at policing meeting

The family of a republican who died in unexplained circumstances in PSNI custody mounted protest at a District Policing Partnership (DPP) meeting in Derry on Wednesday.

Mr Brady, who was originally from Strabane, was found dead in an interview room while being held at Strand Road PSNI station in October.

His death is being investigated by the Police Ombudsman.

Around 30 protestors carried out a demonstration at the Waterfoot Hotel in Derry’s Waterside area.

They were joined by Mr Brady’s sister Lorna Brady, who addressed members before the meeting, reading out a statement in which she said her brother’s death was being kept off the agenda.

She also criticized the chair of the DPP Chair, Sinn Fein’s Elisha McLaughlin for incorrectly stating the date of her brother’s death in a letter sent to the family.

Mr Brady said it was the first DPP meeting since her brother’s death “and he isn’t even on the agenda”.

She said: “This meeting is about domestic violence, which is an important issue, but surely some time should have been given over to consider the death of a man in police custody.”

John Brady, was arrested and taken to Strand Road on Friday October 2 in connection with an alleged assault. He was found hanging the next day shortly after a visit from his lawyer.

Released under the Good Friday Agreement, his release licence was later revoked by the British government and he was returned to prison in November 2003. He was on weekend leave when he was arrested. He was due for release five weeks later.

Lorna Brady said the family were still waiting for answers and accused Sinn Fein of a ‘cynical stunt’ after Elisha McLaughlin wrote to her this week.

“How come it took Sinn Fein all this time to write to my family? And isn’t it strange the letter comes just before we mount our protest outside the DPP meeting?

“Sinn Fein didn’t care about John when he was interned for Provisional IRA charges and they didn’t care about him at his death. They cared that little about him that Elisha McLaughlin could not even get the date of his death right. In her letter she has it as October 2 when it was October 3.

“Elisha McLaughlin said she has had a private meeting about John’s death with the police. Well, why haven’t we been told what was said? This is a cynical stunt by Sinn Fein to try and take the heat out of our protest,” Ms Brady claimed.

A protest was also mounted by IRSP members.

In recent months, DPP meetings have become increasingly tense affairs across the North.

In south Armagh, Sinn Fein directed its own protests at the PSNI.

Sinn Fein Councillor Colman Burns, who sits on the DPP, read a pre-prepared statement on how people in south Armagh feel “singled out for particularly bad policing practices”.

He named the investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency of republican Sean Hughes as a “media-driven campaign aimed at criminalising republicans” and occasions when police have been “heavy-handed”.

“The conclusion drawn by the people in South Armagh is that the PSNI are working to the same political agenda as the RUC did in the past,” Mr Burns said.

“This is ‘political policing’ on a grand scale and very poor policing practices when it comes to dealing with ordinary crime inflicted on this community.

“The acceptance of the police in south Armagh should be welcomed and respected - not taken for granted.”

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