Irish Republican News · July 8, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Children terrorised by PSNI

Anger at police intimidation in the North is mounting after children returning from a bus trip to Dublin last week were terrorised by heavily armed PSNI members for up two hours.

The Sunday bus trip involved 13 children and 6 adults, and was returning from a visit to the Kilmainham jail museum in Dublin. It was stopped and searched on the A1 dual carriageway outside Banbridge, ostensibly for explosives, by up to 60-70 PSNI members using armoured vehicles and helicopters.

A senior member of the Republican Network for Unity, Carl Reilly, was on the bus.

One father, who was accompanied by three sons, said the search operation had badly traumatised his youngest son, who is four years of age.

He said his son was “took off a bus by heavily armed men at gun point, videoed an photographed as he was getting off.

“He was then separated from me by the PSNI which caused the kids more distress. The child wet himself with nerves. The PSNI then held him on a grass verge for near two hours with the child soaked to the bone with his own urine.”

The PSNI said four children were searched during the operation. However, this is disputed by parents who say all but one child on board the bus was searched.

A lawyer acting for the children and their parents, Kevin Winters, said the PSNI could now face civil proceedings after the group was detained for almost two hours.

Mr Winters said legal action could follow the incident. He has reported the matter to the Children’s Law Centre, Children’s Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission.

Belfast woman Lisa Britton, who was on the bus with her two children, said they were traumatised by the incident.

She said: “It was horrifying, especially for the kids, and my wee girl who is four is totally traumatised. My nine-year-old son panics every time he sees a police Land Rover. The PSNI took videos of the adults and the children, even though we told them we didn’t want that.

“I wanted to get someone to come along and take my children. I’m very angry about this.”

Last Saturday, eirigi organised a protest against Crown force harassment in Newry.

For the duration of the protest the PSNI videoed and recorded everyone, including children.

Runai ginearalta [general secretary of] eirigi Breandan Mac Cionnaith said that it was “now abundantly clear that, instead of delivering a ‘new beginning’, the PSNI has simply continued with the same failed anti-working class and anti-republican agenda of the RUC and Royal Irish Constabulary before them.

“The lie of ‘community-based’ policing has been exposed by the reality of increased draconian legislation, harassment and brutality,” he said.

Mr Mac Cionnaith said activists in the area were being singled out for special treatment because of their political activities.

“The PSNI are only proving by their own actions that they are an unchanged, unaccountable paramilitary force. The PSNI remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British occupation.

“No amount of PSNI harassment, in Newry or anywhere else, will prevent eirigi activists from continuing the work of rebuilding the republican struggle.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News