A member of the deaf community in Derry says she was traumatised after a heavy-handed PSNI police raid on her home in the Shantallow area of the city on Tuesday.
Rose McNally lives in the house with her 19-year-old daughter and family friend, Myles O’Loughlin, who has Parkinson’s disease.
Ms McNally was asleep at the time of the raid on her home. After hearing a “loud bang downstairs”, Mr O’Loughlin thought someone was trying to break into the house and ironically called the police.
“By the time I went downstairs I discovered that the police, who were breaking down our door, had heard that we had called the PSNI - they just started laughing at us,” said Ms McNally.
“I feel completely traumatised by the whole ordeal - it was absolutely terrifying.”
Independent Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor for the area, Warren Robinson, described the PSNI’s actions as “disgraceful”.
He said: “I think it is disgraceful that the PSNI are acting in such a way towards totally innocent members of our community who should be left alone to get on with their lives without this type of heavy-handed incident being visited upon them.”
In other news, a heavily pregnant republican woman has complained after she was subjected to a PSNI stop-and-search operation while on her way to a midwife’s appointment.
Grainne McCreesh, who is eight months pregnant, was stopped and held for 40 minutes in west Belfast on Monday under the ‘Justice and Security’ Act.
The 30-year-old, who is a member of the Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective, which opposes sectarian parades in north Belfast, says she has been stopped five times in the past three weeks. On each occasion the PSNI followed her from Ardoyne to other districts, including loyalist areas, before stopping her.
“With only a few weeks to go before I have my baby, I shouldn’t have to be worrying about going out in my car incase I’m stopped and searched at the side of roads,” she said.
“Or being degraded and humiliated in front of passing cars, stopped outside loyalist houses, not knowing who or what is looking at you.
“But as a republican that’s what’s faced every day regardless of whether I’m pregnant or not.”
The mother-of-one says she does not know why she is being harassed. She said she hopes by highlighting the situation, the intimidation will ease.
“If left unchallenged it will become an everyday way of life,” she said. “For some it is.”
A spokesperson for the Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective reported a second incident in which the group’s chairperson, Dee Fennell, was stopped, searched, harassed and verbally insulted by an armed PSNI unit in front of four of his children.
“Extremely terrifying for all the children, especially his one year old daughter who wasn’t allowed to be put back into her car seat, meaning Dee had to hold her as armed men searched him,” he said.
The incident also took place this week in Brompton Park, where there have been a series of harassment incidents against republicans, including a raid at the home of a former republican prisoner.
“The PSNI are trying to quell any political opinion in the area,” the spokesperson said.