A number of republicans in County Antrim have been warned about their safety after it was reported that a “PSNI document” had been lost.
In a statement, the PSNI said it had lost a “document containing personal details of a small number of people in the north Antrim area.”
It is understood that several people linked to the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association (IRPWA), the Irish Republican Socialist Party and an independent republican flute band were visited in recent days. At least six people have so far been advised to increase their personal safety.
The loss of the intelligence file recalls similar incidents at the height of the conflict, when loyalists received information to assist or even direct their attacks.
Vice chair of the IRPWA, Sean Hanna (pictured) said the men are concerned by the development.
“These are all committee members and supporters of the IRPWA and we are concerned that their names addresses have been collected.....we believe now their lives are in danger,” he said.
“Their (PSNI) brand is to keep people safe but they have put these people in danger.
“We will be calling for the Police Ombudsman to get involved.”
Mr Hanna also said he has been contacted by a worried mother of two young children whose home was visited by the PSNI, who wanted to speak to a former occupant whose details were lost.
Two IRSP members were also among the group. One of the men, who did not want to be named, said he will be seeking legal advice. He said the episode has placed strain on his family.
A party spokesperson said “questions need answered”.
“The car registration numbers and home addresses of two members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party along with the same details of four other Republicans have ended up in the possession of known Loyalists,” they said.
“Information the IRSP has received is that the document, which contained the personal details, was left behind during a house raid of a known Loyalist in Ballymoney”.
The spokesperson continued: “The IRSP wants it put on a matter of public record if the PSNI are harbouring a ‘rogue officer”’ or is this the work of British intelligence agencies trying to heighten sectarian tensions in the area by passing information to Loyalists who may act on it. There is a real risk of destabilising the entire peace process if Loyalists were to successfully act on the information passed to them by the PSNI.
“During the years of the long war British and Loyalist paramilitary collusion was systematic, commonplace, vast and lethal. The British government targeted Republican Socialists, passed personal details onto Loyalist death squads and armed them to carry out the attacks then protected the killers. Are we witnessing the beginning of a similar strategy to deal with those of us who will not accept the legitimacy of the Stormont puppet regime?”