18 September 2003 Edition

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McGuinness dismisses Orde accusations

Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness has refuted PSNI boss Hugh Orde's claims that republicans are involved in an intimidation campaign against Catholic members of the District Police Partnership Boards (DPP) across the North.

Since Thursday 11 September, when Cathal O'Dolan resigned from the Fermanagh DPP after being threatened by so-called dissident republicans, nine members of the Cookstown DPP have been told by the PSNI that they are under threat from 'mainstream republicans'.

As a result, 52-year-old Teresa Rooney resigned her seat.

On Sunday, a hoax bomb was left at the home of the SDLP's Tom McBride, the chair of Strabane DPP, while on Tuesday, Arthur McGarrigle, also a member of Strabane DPP, had his car destroyed in an arson attack. Then in Derry, DPP member Marion Quinn had a family car fire bombed.

In light of these incidents, Sinn Féin leaders Martin McGuinness and Pat Doherty have dismissed claims by the PSNI and Hugh Orde in particular that republicans were involved in a campaign against DPP members.

"I am absolutely of the view that there is no mainstream republican involvement in the intimidation of anyone. There are microgroups out there who have been active in this regard and our view on them is very, very clear they should stop," said McGuinness.

McGuinness added: "In fact, they should go away and catch themselves on, and disband, and recognise that their strategy is not going to succeed in bringing about the type of policing changes that Sinn Féin wants."

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