30 July 1998 Edition

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Fleadh goers harassed

Revellers on their way to the Ulster Fleadh in Castlewellan on Sunday 26 July have accused the RIR of harassment and in the most serious incident a group of two women, a man and a four year old child were held for almost an hour. The RIR soldiers P-checked the group, one of whom was a visitor from England, and searched their car.

The occupants of the car were held and body searched at the side of the road.

The driver of the car who contacted An Phoblacht said that, ``after one patrol member took our details and radioed them through, which took about 20 minutes, he was going to let us go but I refused to sign a form - which I'm not legally obliged to do. After that an RIR man who I think was in charge came over and said he was searching the car under the EPA and took us all out''.

The driver said it was clear the patrol was intent on harassing people going to the Fleadh because a number of cars going towards the County Down town were stopped and a number of people held and searched.

``We were there for almost an hour and at no time did I see the RIR stop or hold any vehicle that was taking any of the other roads at the Edendariff cross-roads. One car was pulled in behind us and held for about 30 minutes'', said the driver.

The group, when they arrived in Castlewellan, contacted the Fleadh organisers and reported the incident.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1