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13 November 1997 Edition

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RUC admits collusion with drug dealers

by Laura Friel

An RUC drug squad chief has admitted that RUC Special Branch collude and protect drug dealers if they are acting as informers.

Kevin Sheehy, an RUC Detective Superintendent in charge of the drug squad, said that the search for security information always had priority over the battle against drugs and there had been occasions when drug squad operations had been scuttled on the orders of the RUC Special Branch.

The RUC chief's comments were made during an anti-drugs conference in Donegal last year. Sheehey was speaking privately to Independent Councillor P.J. Blake from Letterkenny. ``Superintendent Sheehy made these remarks to several of us and we were all shocked at the time. He stated it quite matter of factly.'' Blake said he and his colleagues had felt unable to publicise the RUC officer's remarks at the time but following recent drug seizures in Donegal, the councillor felt compelled to speak out. ``The bulk of Donegal's drug problem stems from the North,'' said Blake, ``which is not really surprising given the attitude of the RUC.''

Sinn Féin's Northern Chairperson Gerry O'hEara said the admission by the RUC that it turns a blind eye to drug activity in the Six counties highlights the RUC's inability to provide an effective policing service. ``Kevin Sheehy's comments confirm what Sinn Fein has long stated, this sectarian force's primary role is not the provision of a policing service but the infiltration and demoralisation of the nationalist community,'' he said.

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