There has been strong condemnation of a threat by the Crown Forces to seize the election agent of IRSP West Belfast candidate Dan Murphy on the eve of an Assembly election.
The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) is opposed to the Six County Stormont Assembly and is running for election to the body for the first time, on an abstentionist basis, but has faced unprecedented harassment in recent weeks.
The revelation that there is an arrest warrant out for the IRSP election agent in West Belfast, Mick Kelly infuriated the party and Mr Murphy (pictured), who took to social media to protest.
He said he had been informed by telephone that the PSNI “have an arrest warrant out and will be arresting him on sight”.
The move follows a raid last month on the home of Mr Kelly’s parents and the seizure of items belonging to the campaign, as well as searches of vehicles used by IRSP canvassers and campaigners.
“We got that call one day before an election. This on top of what we have already dealt with from the PSNI, and likely their paymasters in the British intelligence services,” Mr Murphy said.
“This is as blatant as it gets. Mick is a very well known, very well respected community and political activist on the Lower Falls. As my election agent he is one of the most important members of my election team and they have issued this arrest warrant a day before an election.
“There is nothing coincidental about this.
“This is fear from the PSNI, from these unnamed elements within the state, and they have every right to be afraid.
“Folks.. send a clear and concise message to these rats, that this will not be accepted.”
It also follows the unexplained closure of the main IRSP Facebook page and other social media accounts, as well as its main bank account.
In a statement the party said: “The IRSP are a registered political party, we extensively exist within working class communities across Ireland and we have a right to engage in the democratic process without fear of attack by the state in whatever form it takes.”
It said it intends to contact the Electoral Commission and ask it to “investigate the cumulative impact of all of these incidents in terms of state interference in the democratic process”.