Letters to the Editor, ‘Sinn Fein political censorship in Derrybeg’

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Friday, August 30th, 2013
Community, Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I write this letter to draw attention to an embarrassing, petty attempt at political censorship carried out by Sinn Fein in the Derrybeg estate on August 24th, just prior to a parade taking place.

While I in no way disagree or oppose the march, indeed I welcome such events. This letter is in relation to what happened before the parade. As many readers will be aware, Derrybeg resident and republican, Stephen Murney, has been interned in Maghaberry Gaol since November 2012.

Since his arrest, Stephen’s family and friends including Derrybeg residents have been in a campaign to highlight the grave injustice which has been brought upon Stephen and his family by the PSNI and British State.

This campaign has included the distribution of leaflets, organising pickets and the erection of posters and signs across Newry and beyond.

As well as a sign calling for an end to internment, a large poster board calling for Stephen’s release was erected in Main Avenue just a few yards from his family home. On the 24th August, Sinn Fein held an event which passed through the estate.

Before the march reached Main Avenue, local residents witnessed a Sinn Fein steward directing a bus, which they had cunningly positioned nearby, into place directly in front of the “Release Stephen Murney” sign, blocking it from view. Before the bus had arrived, SF members from out the area had parked their cars there to “reserve space” for the bus.

On seeing this blatant attempt at political censorship taking place before their eyes, local residents challenged a Sinn Fein steward, who like all the others were not from Derrybeg, and asked him if they were trying to hide the fact that internment is still happening to which the Sinn Fein steward replied “Yeah, they probably are” thus confirming that what was happening was very much deliberate and the intent was to keep Stephen’s case and the public for his release out of sight.

There were countless places Sinn Fein could have parked the bus. In fact there was a spot directly behind the monument where they were marching to there is a large parking area in which several buses could’ve parked. However, this isn’t the first time Sinn Fein used this tactic in Derrybeg.

The last time they marched here several years ago, they did the exact same thing to hide from view a mural highlighting the interment of prominent republican Colin Duffy. At that time, Sinn Fein’s stewards were also challenged but their attempt at censorship must have been deemed a success in their eyes as they have now done the same thing, this time to Stephen Murney.

Sinn Fein pride themselves with standing up for Civil and Human rights, yet here in Derrybeg they are censoring and covering up a vile example of Human Rights abuse on the doorstep of the victim’s family.

It is no secret that the Sinn Fein party have been struggling to maintain a presence in the Derrybeg area in recent years and this exercise in censorship will do them no favours in the area indeed since this incident a number of people who took part in the march have approached the family of Stephen Murney and have told them of their disgust at the petty antics of Sinn Fein, which took place in full view of his family and sickeningly just a few yards from his mother’s home.

Stephen and his family have the support of many Derrybeg residents and no amount of political censorship will change that. The campaign to secure Stephen’s release will continue until he is back home with his family in Derrybeg where he belongs.

Sinn Fein have very short memories as it was once they who were victims. It’s now clear the poacher has very much turned the game keeper!

Signed: Derrybeg Republican
(Name and address supplied)


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