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8 January 1998 Edition

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Scandalous arrest of leading republican

THE charging of Brendan McFarlane in Dublin yesterday has been met with widespread disgust by republicans.

The Ardoyne man had been travelling home through Dundalk on Monday when he was arrested. He was charged on Wednesday in relation to the events surrounding the kidnap of Don Tidey in 1983.

Brendan had only recently been released from Long Kesh after serving a life sentence and the events surrounding his arrest on Monday suggest RUC collusion with the Garda.

It has emerged that his employers only received final notice at 9.30am on Monday that he was to get his final license (life sentence prisoners are ``released on license'' and are thus not legally released until they get the license).

Speaking to An Phoblacht outside a special court hearing on Green Street, one of Brendan's relatives, Angela McFarlane said, `This is a scandalous move at this time in the peace process.

``What is also of particular concern to us is the timing of it, considering that it was just on Monday morning, and unknown to Brendan himself at the time of his arrest, that the finals papers to give him his release were ready for him to sign.''

Adding his voice to the concerns Sinn Féin Vice-President Pat Doherty commented, ``The decision to bring charges against Brendan McFarlane is deeply unhelpful at this time.

``The behaviour and attitude of unionists and loyalists in recent weeks has been to prevent any movement towards real negotiations and those developments which are needed to increase confidence in the efficacy of the peace process.

``There will be a suspicion that in an attempt to appease bogus unionist claims of concessions to nationalists and republicans that Brendan McFarlane is being scapegoated.''

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An Phoblacht
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