24/08/2009

Checkpoint Gunmens' Propaganda 'Coup'

An illegal 'checkpoint' operated by republican gunmen has been been 'facilitated' by the police.

Leaflets warning people not to co-operate with the police on both sides of the border were handed out by dissident republicans at the road stop on Friday night near the village of Meigh.

The leaflets also advised against people speaking with the security service, MI5 - or even Sinn Féin - and also carried threats against anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing.

According to SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley: "This was an attempt by this group to make themselves relevant.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "A routine police patrol came upon what they believed to be suspicious activity in the Meigh area of Newry and pulled back to allow the situation to be fully evaluated.

"This activity was confirmed as being a number of armed men illegally stopping vehicles.

"An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident should contact police."

However, the literal police U-turn has been slammed by South Armagh-based victims' campaigner Willie Frazer.

He said that he understood the officers, who wanted to move into the scene on Friday night to make arrests, were ordered by their superiors to leave the area.

In turn, the PSNI have refused to deny that it ordered police officers who came across dissident republican gunmen stopping traffic in south Armagh to return to their station rather than investigating.

Mr Frazer said that it was farcical for the PSNI to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information: "They would have to take statements from themselves," he told the Belfast News Letter.

"These men were armed to the teeth and were stopping traffic to give out leaflets urging people not to cooperate with the police.

"Yet they were not allowed to engage them and take them on. This is not the first time that this has happened.

"The PSNI has allowed this gang to succeeded in intimidating people."

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

22 February 2024
Man Pleads Guilty To Number Of Sexual Offences Against Children
A 31-year-old man who travelled to Belfast to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl, has pleaded guilty to a number of sexual abuse offences against children. Anil Patel pled guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child, arranging the commission of a child sex offence and possessing extreme pornography of children.
22 February 2024
FMDFM Opened Limavady's New £11m Shared Education Campus
NI's First and Deputy First Minister's have officially open a new £11 million shared education campus in Limavady. Education Minister Paul Givan accompanied the Ministers to view the newly completed campus bringing together St Mary's and Limavady High School sites with a range of new shared facilities.
23 June 2016
Police Officers Disciplined For Failing To Tell Doctor About Woman's Head Injuries
Two police officers have been disciplined after they failed to let their colleagues and a police doctor know that a woman had sustained a head injury, a Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded. The woman died from bleeding to the brain on 24 February 2014, the day after she suffered the injury.
27 June 2022
Two PSNI Officers Arrested In Corruption Investigation
Two PSNI officers have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into misconduct in public office. According to reports, the officers were arrested in the greater Belfast area on Thursday 23 June by the Anti-Corruption Unit.
09 March 2016
Teen Arrested Over Security Alert In West Belfast
A teenager has been arrested following a security alert at a west Belfast police station. The incident occurred at Woodbourne PSNI station on Tuesday. Army bomb disposal experts attended the scene after a suspicious object was discovered. It was later declared an "elaborate hoax" by the police.