16 October 2003 Edition

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Death threats but no gun for Meehan

Antrim Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Meehan was scathing after members of the PSNI handed him a booklet on personal protective measures after they informed him on Saturday 11 October that he was under a death threat from unionist paramilitaries.

Meehan was refused permission to carry a personal issue firearm for his defence at Belfast High Court on Friday 26 September but he was afterwards handed a security booklet by the PSNI. There have been over 50 threats and attempted murder bids on himself and members of his family by unionist death squads.

The latest threat was issued to Meehan and four others by an unknown loyalist grouping, who warned they would be assassinated within days.

"The British Courts say I'm not allowed to carry a personal issue firearm but I am placed on the Key Protection Scheme by the NIO, which allows me to secure my home from attack," Meehan pointed out. "I can protect myself while at home but am an open invitation to unionist paramilitaries while outside because of the refusal of a gun licence. Either they take the threats seriously and issue me with a licence or they don't."

Meehan is taking a Right to Life case over the refusal to grant him a firearm licence to the European Courts of Human Rights.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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