Eirigi and PSNI in disagreement over ‘harassment’ claims
Newry republican group éirígí has stated the belief that alleged PSNI harassment has got to end immediately. According to an éirígí spokesman, a local republican approached the party after he was stopped and searched 98 times in little over a year.
Stephen Murney of éirígí explained, “These particular stop and searches are only those where a search record has been obtained, these don’t include the numerous times when no such record was given to the victim, so it’s fair to say the actual number is much higher, well over 100 in the space of a year. Most of these are conducted under section 21 and 24 of the draconian British Justice & Security Act which consists of your personal details and movements being recorded and a humiliating search for ammunition and wireless apparatus.”
Murney continued, “It has also been brought to our attention that a number of times school kids as young as 14 have also been stopped and harassed in a similar fashion. This man approached us as a result of this incessant harassment. This is just one man and the amount of search records he has received is unbelievable. There are numerous other republicans, including éirígí members, in this area who are also being stopped and searched on a regular basis. We have already held a number of events including protesting at the doorstep of the PSNI at Ardmore barracks, erecting banners and posters across Newry and distributed thousands of leaflets across the district. It’s time republicans in Newry took our campaign to a new level. We can’t sit back any longer and let these thugs get away with this; it’s time to up the ante and resist these thugs.”
The éirígí representative added, “In the New Year we will be organising several initiatives to counter this relentless campaign of harassment, one of the first things we will do is to convene a public meeting to discuss a number of issues; PSNI harassment will be a major topic at this event and we urge everyone concerned to attend to tell of their experiences and suggest ideas. We will be publishing the final details in the coming weeks. By doing this we can put a viable model in place where we can resist, monitor and expose the PSNI at a new level. I would urge all victims of similar human rights abuses to publicly come forward and expose the unchanged nature of these British paramilitaries. They should log all incidents with their solicitor and are more than welcome to contact éirígí.”
However, the PSNI has denied what they described as ‘faceless allegations’. In a statement to Newry Times a police spokesperson said, “Police in Newry have a responsibility to investigate all reports of crime and this is what the community of Newry have asked us to do. All police investigations and enquiries are carried out within the relevant legislation. It is easy to make faceless allegations and attempt to cause discord in the community but the local community have shown their support for police and have asked us to tackle criminal, terrorist and antisocial behaviour.”
The spokesperson added, “Crime in Newry and Mourne has reduced over the last year and the community can rest assured that we will continue to tackle and disrupt criminal and illegal activity and protect the areas they live in to make Newry a safer place in which to live and work. Anyone who has a genuine complaint about the actions of police can contact the office of the Police Ombudsman.”
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