28 May 1998 Edition

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SFY harass Special Branch

by Michael Pierse

Dublin Sinn Féin Youth activists held a protest last Friday outside the Garda Special Branch headquarters in Harcourt Street, Dublin. The protest was against an escalating campaign of harassment being conducted against SFY activists in the Dublin area by the Special Branch.

One SFY member in particular has been targeted in the last few weeks. On several occasions the Branchmen have visited his house telling the twenty year-old man that they will tell his mother of his involvement in SFY. This childish behaviour has been ignored to a large extent by the activist, although, he admits, it does become repetitive and annoying. His girlfriend, also an SFY member, was treated last week to a visit from the Branch on an utterly spurious pretence. Commenting on the visit she said one ``really has to understand how nauseating it is to see these pig-ignorant obesities smirking on your doorstep - it really is annoying.''

A newly joined female member of SFY has also been subject to harassment. Following her return from a picket in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in defence of the GAA's Rule 21, the Special Branch phoned her father, who works in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and informed him that they knew she had travelled to Omagh that Sunday.

For these reasons, amongst others, SFY in Dublin organised last Friday's picket, which was a resounding success. The picketers wielded banners with the names of the offending Gardaí and chanted slogans calling for an end to the harassment. The sound of screeching whistles wailed in the car windows of the Special Branch, who hastily absconded. Although one Garda lost his rag and assaulted three members of the group, he was unable to quell the enthusiastic protestations of the picketers.

Des Foley of Dublin SFY said that ``this current acceleration in Special Branch harassment of SFY members is extremely unhelpful and must not continue. It is our right as political activists to continue our work within communities and on a national level - we will not be deterred from our objectives by any degree of state intimidation.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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