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11 January 2001 Edition

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Former SF councillor arrested in Wales

Former Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Regan is pursuing legal action this week after he was arrested and held by British authorities.

Regan, originally from Roscommon, became the first elected Sinn Féin councillor in the Glens area of Antrim in 1985. Now the proprietor of a number of small businesses, he was travelling to Leeds with his wife when British police swooped on his car.

When they arrived at Hollyhead, Regan and his wife were stopped by the police and hauled into a lay-by on the motorway. They said they had tailed him for miles with a siren - a claim Regan denies.

The police then arrested him and took him to Rhyll Police Station in North Wales, accusing him of being drunk while driving. Regan, who hasn't touched alcohol in 19 years, was more than a little surprised by the claim, but agreed to a breathaliser test, which came up clear.

The police then accused him of driving with a forged driving license and placed him in a prison cell. For five hours, Seán was deprived of food or water and tablets he required for a medical condition. After five or six requests for a solicitor, one finally arrived, while the British police checked his identity with a local Garda station in Gort.

Following his release and return to Ireland, Seán's solicitor has been in contact with the British Embassy, with which he has lodged a claim. ``I was very shocked by the incident, as was my wife,'' he says. ``The treatment I received was atrocious''.

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