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2 October 1997 Edition

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Garda harassment is political censorship

The ongoing harassment of republicans in the 26 Counties is designed as a form of political censorship. Sinn Féin is a legal political party yet their meetings are monitored by the Garda Special Branch and their members are subject to constant harassment, including arrest. Spurious charges are laid against Sinn Féin members and employers are intimidated into making republicans redundant.

Just last week three car loads of Special Branch spent all day on Saturday outside the offices in Dublin where Sinn Féin was holding its Ard Comhairle meeting. Not only is this a complete waste of taxpayers' money but it is a clear attack on civil liberties.

Other Sinn Féin gatherings - large and small - are similarly graced with the presence of the political police. People visiting Sinn Féin offices are stopped and questioned and new members must be especially resilient to face the systematic harassment meted out by the Special Branch.

Munster in particular has seen a concerted campaign against republicans. This week An Phoblacht exposes the extent of Special Branch harassment in Limerick (see pages 10/11). It is a campaign directed at the highest level and aimed at stifling the voice of republicanism. That Sinn Féin is a vibrant political voice in Munster and Limerick is a testament to the strength of the Sinn Féin members in that area.

The political masters of the Special Branch must put into action their oft-repeated words. There is a peace process. They must call a ceasefire.

Internment should never have been there

It has been claimed as a great concession. All forms of media have run nostalgia pieces to show that the bad old days are gone. But the announcement that internment will be removed from the statute books has not produced any great rejoicing in the nationalist community. Internment should not have been there in the first place. And now, all the other repressive measures must be removed. Immediately.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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