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2 May 2002 Edition

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South Armagh committee slams PSNI

The South Armagh Farmers & Residents Committee (SAFRC) held a full committee meeting last weekend to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the arrests of three local men, including one of the SAFRC's founding members, Peter Carragher. The other two persons were Crossmaglen men Philip O'Rourke and Jim Cleary. These arrests were in connection with a number of demonstrations held at military watchtowers in the South Armagh area on 9 December last.

In a statement issued after the meeting the SAFRC said the arrests had been "a contrived, well-planned and orchestrated conspiracy by certain elements within the PSNI. The sheer brutality meted out by the PSNI during the arrests at the homes and whilst the men were being held in custody, was designed to attack a peaceful representative group and inflict serious injury with a view to undermining the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is self evident that there is no change to this new police service as the tactics deployed by the PSNI are in conjunction with those used by the RUC following their formation in June 1922.

"It is clearly recognisable that the PSNI acted on instructions from highly placed authoritative senior figures from within their organisation, with the sole intent on sabotaging the Good Friday Agreement. We at the SAFRC find it totally inconceivable that any police service can or will be permitted to act in such an unlawful manner in the serving of summons on individuals, from within any community.

"This latest incident by the PSNI clearly illustrates the unacceptability of this so-called new policing service.

"It is unthinkable and unimaginable that elements from within the nationalist community, namely the SDLP, the Catholic Church and the Irish government, can continue in their self-appointed roles, as recruiting agents for this so-called new police service.

"We at the SAFRC and on behalf of the nationalist community in South Armagh call on the aforementioned bodies to publicly condemn the actions of this force and immediately withdraw their affiliated members from the policing board and their support for this police service."
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