18/03/2008

Arresting Time As BBC NI Journalists Make The News

BBC Northern Ireland journalists have found themselves making the headlines in a new capacity after being involved in a dramatic police chase in Co Donegal.

Police chased a white van containing, seven people - including the BBC journalists - after it failed to stop for Garda who then rammed the van.

The van was not believed to have been driven by the journalists, who are understood to be working for either the Panorama or Spotlight programme. The journalists were believed to be investigating members of the Real IRA.

All seven passengers of the van were arrested by garda and questioned. The BBC journalists were soon released without charge.

BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent, Vincent Kearney said: "Four of those people were BBC journalists. The van, I understand, was not being driven by a member of BBC staff," he said.

"I am told that initially the driver of the van refused to stop when ordered to do so.

"The van was then forced to a halt when it was rammed by a police car. Heavily armed police officers forced open the doors and arrested all seven men inside.

"They were taken to three separate police stations and questioned under section 30 of the offences against the state act - the Republic's anti-terrorist legislation.

"Shortly before midnight, the four BBC journalists were released without charge."

Gardaí have since released three more of the men and today, four men remain in custody as part of the investigation.

(DW) (BMcC)




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