30 July 1998 Edition
Sinn Fein Youth stages RUC protests
by Deirdre Feehan
Sinn Fein Youth staged simultaneous pickets on Saturday 25 July calling for the disbandment of the RUC outside the Springfield Road RUC Barracks in West Belfast and the Oldpark Barracks in the north of the city.
SFY spokesperson Aidan Ferguson said, ``We have organised these protests to highlight the ongoing campaign of harassment by the RUC against young nationalists throughout Belfast. Despite the Good Friday document and the setting up of the Assembly, harassment continues to be a daily reality for young people in Belfast. We want this to stop immediately.''
Ferguson concluded ``The Good Friday document and the institutions it involves are meant to be about creating a better society for us all. How can we as young republicans have confidence in those institutions if our experience is one of state sponsored harassment and violence. It is time the RUC were disbanded and the Assembly set about creating a democratic, accountable, non violent and community led policing service.''
As part of their ongoing campaign, SFY have sent 1,200 signatures, in two batches, to the office of Adam Ingram calling for the disbandment of the RUC. In a letter addressed to the security minister, Adam Ingram, SFY national organiser Eoin O'Broin said ``the recent behaviour of the RUC has reached new levels of unacceptability. Despite the Good Friday document, despite the Assembly and despite our support for the current political process we continue to be victims of intimidation, abuse and harassment. Adam Ingram, as a minister for security, is directly responsible for this, only he has the power to ensure it stops. We are calling for a meeting with him to make our demands quite clear. We want an to end harassment, we want an end to intimidation, we want an end to the RUC.''
Movement on prisoners essential, say SFY
Members of the newly formed Dublin North East Sinn Féin Youth cumann held a very well attended protest for the release of political prisoners in Donaghmede this week.
Local SFY member Mick Webster said that the importance of the protest was paramount at the moment, while conditions for many prisoners have not changed in recent times despite the goodwill generated by political developments.
Citing the lack of movement by British Home Secretary Jack Straw on the the repatriation of Patrick Kelly and James Murphy, who applied for transfer back to Ireland in January and had those applications approved by the Dublin Government in May, Mick commented that ``prisoners of war must be treated as such and in the current political climate Jack Straw's unwillingness to move on the issue contravenes everything that is happening''.
The predicament of another prisoner held in England, Séamus McArdle was also highlighted at the picket. Paul O'Connell of SFY said that his detention in a Special Secure Unit in Belmarsh was ``inhumane and unjust and this has also been the line taken by Amnesty International''.