You'll recall this incident occurred a few weeks ago when the republican community in East Tyrone and South Derry were placed under siege by over 200 members of the British forces. You will also recall that at the time Martin McGuinness came straight out and defended the PSNI and offered them his full support, within 24 hrs Martin "changed his mind" and condemned the PSNI operation. Obviously he learnt that the republican community in Tyrone didn't share the same view as he did and were rightly very angry. It seems the Stormonteers will ony condcemn raids and harassment when it suits them and their anti-republican agenda.
Its great to see that there are sound republican elected reps who don't suffer from foot in mouth syndrome (unique condition for those in supposed positions of power)
Also great that he dosent use selective condemnation ie. good raids Vs bad raids
Maith Thú Barry Montieth
DUNGANNON Independent Republican Councillor, Barry Monteith, has strongly criticised what he called the “unacceptable harassment of Republicans by the PSNI/RUC” in recent weeks.
Questioning the purpose of the raids, which included homes in the Coalisland area, Cllr Monteith said: “The raids which took place recently in the East Tyrone/South Derry area involving over 200 armed militia are not isolated incidents. These raids have rightly been publicly challenged.
“They are not, however, as a result of misinformation or lapses in judgement. They took place in the context of British policing policy to intimidate, criminalise and marginalise Republicans. Unfortunately sections of Irish society aid and endorse this felon-setting of Republicans. Other Republicans have been similarly targeted in recent times yet those who talk of heavy handedness now, were strangely silent then.”
Pointing to the presence of media at one address in Coalisland, the local councillor also said the safety of some of those whose homes were visited by police.
“These raids follow a pattern”, claimed Cllr Monteith. “They take place in blaze of publicity. The media are undoubtedly tipped off by the Crown Forces. Indeed on one occasion in East Tyrone the Media arrived at the house to be raided before the PSNI!
“I would call into question the relationship between the media and the PSNI. Are there similar underhand exchanges of information like those recently uncovered in London between police and media.
“This has the added sinister aspect of setting Republicans up for Loyalist attack. A number of Republicans targeted in the East Tyrone area by these Propaganda Raids have subsequently received Loyalist death threats. During the raids, people’s homes are declared a Scene of Crime in order to prevent access by family and friends who want help those in distress.
“As part of the raid it is now standard procedure to remove ALL clothing from the house and ALL mobile phones and computers from the house. This includes phones and computers belonging to any children in the house. Despite the fact these computers hold important school work they are not returned for months, even years.
“I know of some people who have not had their property returned after several years having gone by and no charges brought. These raids combined with the continued stop and search harassment and MI5 harassment by the Crown Forces are all part of the British policing strategy in Ireland.
“This harassment is totally unacceptable, yet it is unfortunately not surprising. The legacy of British Policing in Ireland is one of repression, discrimination, abuse and victimisation against the Irish people. Someone claimed these raids are like a return to the bad old days as if they were a bolt from the blue. When in reality they are a continuation of British policing policy in Ireland. For grass roots Republicans the bad old days never went away.”