Irish Republican News · June 4, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI harass, caution kids in Lurgan arrest operation


Republican Sinn Fein man has hit out at the “arbitrary arrest and internment” of twelve of its members following the opening of a republican Garden of Remembrance in Lurgan, County Armagh last weekend.

Several hundred people attended the event to open a memorial garden to Lurgan man Edward Costello, killed during the 1916 Easter Rising, and other republicans.

It included a procession led by a colour party through the Kilwilkie estate, which the PSNI declared illegal.

Costello was a native of Castle Lane but had went to Dublin for work and joined the Irish Citizen Army in 1915. A wreath was laid on behalf of the IRSP.

A Thomas Harte Cumann RSF spokesperson described the monument as in memory of Mr Costello and all those who died as a direct result of British occupation in Ireland. The party had been organising fundraisers and organised a local lottery to raise money to build the memorial. However, it was also declared illegal last week by the local council.

While the event itself took place as planned, seven men were subsequently arrested in a military-style operation against a 26-County minibus. More than a dozen Crown force vehicles were used to surround the vehicle as the men were searched at the roadside and republican items removed and photographed.

A van carrying members of a band based in Bellaghy, County Derry which took part in the parade, was also pulled over. Those inside had their details taken and were told they were going to be prosecuted for taking part in the parade.

Republican Sinn Fein president Des Dalton, who spoke at the event, condemned the PSNI operation, which he said shows the reality of British rule in Ireland.

“It also gives the lie to those who say that the six-county state is a normal democratic society,” he said. “Arbitrary arrest and internment continue to be used against Irish republicans for simply commemorating our patriot dead.”

A ten-year-old boy and a four-year-old boy were among those questioned in the operation. The ten-year-old is believed to be the youngest ever in the history of the conflict to be cautioned in regard to a parade.

The father of the two brothers and an older brother were among those arrested, while their mother was cautioned before being allowed to travel home.

RSF General Secretary Josephine Hayden was critical of the PSNI’s treatment of the family. “It is disgraceful that children are being asked their names and cautioned and questioned in this way,” she said.

DUP assembly member for the area Carla Lockhart welcomed the operation. “People do not want this on their streets,” she said.

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© 2016 Irish Republican News