15 October 1998 Edition
RUC in campaign of terror
By Peadar Whelan
Derryman Eddie McKeever has called time on a two year reign of terror directed at him by the RUC.
The 29 year old from the Bogside told a press conference on Monday that he believed the two year campaign of harassment was aimed at coercing him to become an RUC informer.
The campaign began when he was being held in Castlereagh interrogation centre in Belfast. He was arrested in relation to an assault but was never questioned about the assault. ``Instead the RUC asked me to supply information to them and showed me a blank cheque. They told me to fill it in for whatever amount I liked''.
Over the next two days of his detention Mr McKeever was continually asked to turn informer.
On his release a male caller, saying he was the RUC man from Castlereagh, made a series of calls to McKeever and repeated the money offer but also said he would clear any debt the Derryman was in. On another occasion when Mr McKeever was home on his own with his child the caller told him to ``get someone to mind the child for an hour'' and meet him.
After this McKeever changed his phone number but the RUC man in question stopped him on the street a number of times. The latest incident occurred last week as he walked along Craigavon Bridge. The RUC man approached him, offered him money then suggested they go for a pint. McKeever started shouting to attract attention and the RUC walked off.
Saying he was making the harassment public McKeever said, ``I couldn't take the pressure and I want it to stop''.
Sinn Fein's Cathal Crumley accused the RUC of running ``a continuing war against the nationalist community'' and added, ``it should be noted by those who have encouraged the presence of the RUC in our schools, youth clubs, and in everyday life that whilst the RUC on the one hand are attempting to ingratiate themselves under the guise of community relations, it is simultaneously engaged in wrecking the lives of nationalists''.
Call on RUC to admit undercover operation
A North Belfast man, who was confronted last Tuesday 6 October by two men claiming to be from the RUC, has told An Phoblacht that he thought his life was in danger.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that he got off a bus on the Antrim Road, and went into a phone box to call his mother. As he left the box and started to cross the Antrim Road a car pulled up and two men jumped out and confronted him.
``The two men pulled me and one said `we want to eliminate you from our enquiries'''.
The man told the pair to `get lost'. Neither had identified themselves as RUC and as far as he was concerned they ``could have been anybody,'' he said.
According to the man the pair did not at any time attempt to identify themselves and he refused to co-operate with them but the confrontation ended when the pair ``just jumped into their car and drove off. At the same time a second car parked close by on the Antrim Road drove away''.
The man has said he will now contact his solicitor to lodge a complaint and try to force the RUC to say they were involved in the incident and find out what it was about.
RUC abuses continue
Two separate incidents in the past week show the need to disband the RUC, Sinn Féin has claimed.
Last Friday the RUC called at the home of a deceased member of the Felons Club who lived in Andersonstown in West Belfast.
The man died six weeks ago while on holiday and, says Liam Shannon, chair of the Felons Association, ``the RUC must have known about the man's death but behaved as if he was alive. They said they were there to talk to the man in relation to their ongoing investigation into the Felons.
``Their presence at the home caused great distress to the family. Even when they were told he was dead the RUC displayed a contemptuous attitude to the man's wife''.
In the second incident an RUC patrol was caught carrying out a spying operation on community workers based at the Ashton Centre in the New Lodge area of North Belfast.
Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly said, ``the RUC were caught spying on the centre by the workers and they need to state publicly why they were doing so''.
At mid-day on Tuesday a worker from the centre noticed an RUC man filming the centre before the jeep drove away. The workers contacted Gerry Kelly who, in turn, phoned the RUC. The RUC admitted their patrol was there but claimed it was involved in `a training exercise'.
``This area has suffered extensively at the hands of loyalist death squads and some of the killings were carried out as a result of collusion between the murder gangs and the RUC'', Kelly said.
He asked the RUC, ``what will happen to the film now?''
These incidents occurred in the week that Mo Mowlam welcomed proposed changes in the RUC oath saying they would make the RUC ``a more efficient, effective and accountable force''.
SF's spokesperson on policing Bairbre De Brun said, ``tinkering with the edges of the RUC will not deliver the type of accountable and community based policing that people expect.''
Meanwhile Fermanagh Assembly member Gerry McHugh and councillor Ruth Lynch attended a solidarity picket outside Enniskillen courthouse on Wednesday when ten nationalists charged with obstruction appeared in court.
The nationalists were charged arising out of a protest they held against an Orange parade going through Newtownbutler earlier this year.
Ruth Lynch said, ``it is the RUC who should be in court today on charges of assault and brutality given the violence they used against these peaceful demonstrators''.