11 March 2004 Edition
IMC's gross political intervention
The decision by the International Monitoring Commission (IMC) to make a special report into the Bobby Tohill incident is being seen by republicans as another example of the British and Dublin Government reacting to unionist and PSNI promptings.
In a week that has seen an upsurge in attacks on Sinn Féin by politicians North and South, the decision by the IMC to produce a special report on the Tohill incident "smacks of the grossest political intervention", says Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin.
"The response to the incident by the IMC stands in stark contrast to reports concerning ongoing unionist paramilitary attacks on Catholics and seven killings over the past year which includes the beating to death of 21-year-old Catholic James McMahon in Lisburn last November."
Announcing that the IMC would be making an early report, its chairperson, the former Alliance Party leader and Speaker of the Assembly, John Alderdice admitted at a press conference on Tuesday 9 March that the IMC could face criticism for not "being equally premature in reporting on the sectarian killing of McMahon and other loyalist violence".
Meanwhile, republicans have accused the PSNI's Special Branch, "of being up to its old tricks".
Said Sinn Féin's Fra McCann, "the decision by members of the PSNI to visit the homes of people engaged in anti social behaviour in Belfast to warn them of imminent threats from the IRA are straight out of the PSNI Special Branch's book of dirty tricks".
Over the past number of weeks, the PSNI have visited homes throughout Belfast, in the Lower Falls and Divis areas as well as homes in the Markets, to warn a number of young men they are under threat from republicans.
McCann told An Phoblacht the visits are nothing more than the PSNI trying to put a political spin on the current process and are designed to influence the forthcoming report by the Independent Monitoring Commission.