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4 June 1998 Edition

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The RUC: Dishonest - Discredited - Disband It

By Sean O'Tuama

Nationalists beaten as RUC stand idly by

The Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group have called on Unionist and Loyalist politicians in the Donegall Pass area of Belfast to act before attacks by loyalist mobs cause serious injury or death to people using the Lower Ormeau Road.

Their plea comes after a number of attacks on Saturday night, 31 May by drunken loyalists on anyone they thought was a Nationalist. The RUC were called but refused to remove the mob.

``In the most serious incident,'' said a spokesperson for LORAG, ``two young girls returning from the Limelight were chased and one of them caught and beaten. Only for the quick actions of a member of LORAG's staff who was monitoring the situation the young girl could have been seriously hurt.''

Referring to the murder of a young Catholic man last year while an RUC unit looked on, the spokesperson added, ``anyone doubting that this is the case should remember what a similar mob did to Robert Hamill in Portadown. In light of this we would also ask why the RUC did not act to remove the mob from the area. Indeed they only left, after nearly an hour, when they got fed up. There are serious questions here for the RUC in Donegall Pass and we await their reply with interest.''

Five year old targeted

The RUC in the Brandywell area of Derry have been harassing children as young as five years old on a nightly basis and shining searchlights into Nationalists homes on the estate.

Peter Anderson, the local SF councillor, has received numerous complaints from parents.

``Unsurprisingly there has been a reaction from the Nationalist community to this RUC aggression,'' said the councillor, referring to the fact that police patrols have come under attack from stone-throwers in the area, ``and some damage has been caused to local buildings and cars. It is quite clear that the RUC is directly responsible for creating this disorder and this force should stay out of the Brandywell and, indeed, any area where it is clear that they are not welcome.''

RUC says No

SF Assembly candidate Davy Hyland, a Newry councillor, has protested about the attitude of some local RUC officers. His campaign manager for the forthcoming Assembly election was stopped and harassed in Newry by an RUC man wearing a Union Jack heart badge on his tie. These badges were launched by the DUP as part of their `No' campaign for the referendum. The RUC man's attitude was aggressive and arrogant, Hyland said.

When the RUC man was challenged about the badge he returned to his patrol car and removed it, subsequently denying any knowledge of it.

RUC attacks in Derry

A Nationalist home in the Galliagh area of Derry was subjected to one of the most aggressive raids by the RUC in the last few years on Thursday 28 May.

The operation began around 9pm and involved four jeeps and a red van. It was carried out by plainclothes RUC as well as masked RUC men who sledgehammered in the front door of the house and smashed all of the front windows.

An angry crowd of local residents gathered after the daughter of the house managed to escape through a window and told of how everyone in the house, including herself and her mother, had been strip searched.

Two men were arrested in the house in connection with a small amount of cannabis, described as being of a quantity used for personal use.

The owner of the house said he was disgusted at the manner of the raid, ``if someone knocks at my door I will open it to them but they didn't even try and knock they just smashed their way in.''

Gerry O'hEara, the local SF councillor, who was present for most of the raid condemned the behaviour of the RUC saying, ``there are absolutely no circumstances that would justify this sort of activity and this is clearly an attempt by the RUC to provoke local people. Once again they have shown why they will always be unacceptable to the nationalist people.''

Local youths stoned the RUC convoy as it left the area after the raid.

RUC harass SFY

Three members of Sinn Fein Youth are being harassed by the RUC for participating in a peaceful anti-sectarianism rally in North Belfast on 7 February.

The rally, organised by young people in the area, entitled Youth Against Sectarian Killings, was held after the murder of Nationalists across the North at the start of the year. Speakers included representatives of SFY and the SDLP.

A similar march and rally in West Belfast was prevented by the RUC on the same day.

Last week the RUC officially cautioned three SFY members but not anyone else who attended the rally.

Eoin O'Broin, SFY National organiser, said the RUC are ``singling us out'' and that the police are ``obviously using this march, which did not pass through any contentious areas, to harass Sinn Fein Youth.''

There are currently fifteen court cases, North and South, pending against SFY activists.

The RUC - at a school near you soon?

Derry SF councillor Gerry O hEara has received a number of complaints from concerned parents after a visit to their local primary school by the RUC without their knowledge.

Several parents have condemned the school authorities, including the Principal Harvinder Torney, who gave the RUC access to the Green Haw primary school in the Pennyburn area of Derry.

``Parents of many of the children who attend this school,'' said O hEara, ``have consistently argued that if school insist on inviting this force then the children's parents must be informed beforehand. The RUC attempt to portray themselves as acceptable to the nationalist community, yet many of these children's parents have for years been the victims of the RUC and have encountered brutality and harassment at their hands.'' He went on to warn that the police were using such visits to gather information on the children's parents.

After a meeting with SF councillor Tony Hassan on Wednesday, 27 May, Mrs Torney said that in light of parents' concerns she would ``suspend contact'' with the RUC. She went on to apologise for not informing parents before the police visit saying it was ``an oversight'' and that ``the education and safety of our children remains paramount.''

RUC still touting for touts

A Derry man, who wishes not to be named, has contacted his solicitor to complain after the RUC attempted to intimidate him into becoming an informer.

This follows an incident in Shantallow RUC Station on Wednesday, 29 May, where the man had gone in connection with a minor motoring offence.

He had been asked to bring his driving documents with him but when he explained that he did not have them because he had only just purchased the car an RUC man questioning him said that the courts would be hard on him. The RUC man then said that if he helped them the RUC would help him. The man immediately refused the offer. But as he was leaving the barracks the same RUC man approached him and said, ``you have my number if you need our help.''

The man will be making a formal complaint about the incident.

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