28/11/2003

SF election candidate in police controversy

Lagan Valley Sinn Féin representative Paul Butler was at the centre of controversy today after his election motorcade was stopped by police following acting on information that one of the vehicles had been stolen in the Irish Republic.

Mr Butler was also involved in skirmishes in the Dromore count centre last night in which loyalists allegedly threatened and abused the Sinn Féin member.

Mr Butler, whose team were allowed to carry on after the car inspection was completed, said: “Last night the PSNI stood by and watched as loyalists attacked and intimidated Sinn Féin party workers and supporters. Their behaviour today was even worse. The attack on a car belonging to a Sinn Féin party worker was intolerable.

"Through its inaction the PSNI supported loyalist intimidation yesterday and then engaged in the active intimidation of a party worker today.”

Mr Butler, who was unsuccessful in his bid to be elected in the Lagan Valley constituency, said he would be raising the matter with the Electoral Commission and the Police Ombudsman.

(MB)

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