There has been outrage in Strabane after the PSNI police attacked a funeral of a prominent member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) in the Tyrone town and arrested some of the mourners.
Mr McGarrigle, who had been diagnosed with cancer, passed away peacefully on Sunday at his home in Strabane after a long battle with illness.
His funeral, which took place at St Mary’s Church in Strabane on Tuesday, was attended by hundreds of mourners. The funeral procession was led by a lone piper and included an honour guard of his former comrades dressed in black and white.
Shockingly, the PSNI moved against the mourners and arrested a number of them, leading them away into armoured vehicles.
The actions continued a decades-long effort of the British Crown Force to suppress attempts to honour Irish republican Volunteers, and followed an equally public assault on a commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising in Derry last week.
The attack on Tuesday’s funeral was “absolutely sickening”, according to one of Mr McGarrigle’s IRSP comrades, Tarlach Mac Dhónaill.
“Failing to frame it into an historical and political context would be an insult to his memory,” he wrote. “R.I.P Eddie, They fear you even now a chara. I know that would make you smile.”
The fearful reaction of the British establishment to the IRSP’s electoral efforts is being blamed for the extreme oppression of the party in the run up to next week’s vote. The party is running only two candidates, in Derry and West Belfast, but has been subjected to an extraordinary level of harassment and censorship ahead of their historic first Assembly election contest.
In an unusually blatant act of political interference this week, the parental home of the election agent of Belfast candidate candidate Dan Murphy was raided by the PSNI. The printer being used by the campaign was in the house, preventing it from completing essential election paperwork.
“This is nothing but an unacceptable and blatant attack against democracy and an attack against the people of the West Belfast,” Mr Murphy wrote.
“This is the sort of thing we have had to deal with since announcing our intention to stand.
“Yesterday was an important date to send in vital electoral documents to the Electoral Commission. It just so happens on the same day the PSNI chose to raid the family home of my election agent who needed to complete the deadline paperwork.
“This is not a normal democratic state.”