14 January 1999 Edition

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RUC again assault GAA members

By Peadar Whelan

For the second time in two weeks the RUC has targetted members of a County Derry GAA club.

Members and players of the Slaughtneil club were celebrating victory in the County Derry minor hurling final when members of the RUC's DMSU attacked and injured two men, leaving one man with a broken arm, mild concussion and severe bruising. The other man was heavily bruised after being beaten about the legs.

Sinn Fein Assembly member, John Kelly, said the latest incident happened in the early hours of Monday morning 11 January when RUC units from Garvagh stopped a cavalcade of cars celebrating the victory in Maghera.

``The RUC pointed their guns at the young hurlers in one of the cars, which they stopped, and accused the driver of overloading. When two older club members intervened and asked the RUC to put up their guns, the RUC set about them using batons.

``Both men were bundled into RUC vehicles and brought to Maghera RUC barracks where they were subjected to DNA testing, had swabs taken and hair removed from their arms,'' said Mr Kelly.

Over 100 club members and supporters staged an impromptu protest outside the RUC barracks in support of the men who were released at about 3am.

Slaughtneil club officials now say they are worried the RUC has a grudge against the club as this is the second time in two weeks that club members were subjected to this type of treatment.

On New Year's Day when the club was celebrating victory in the Ulster club minor football championship the RUC also stopped a cavalcade and hassled members.

Only last week a loyalist bomb in the nearby town of Magherafelt almost killed a worker as he lifted a breeze block while working on renovation in the local O'Donovan Rossa GAA club.

John Kelly now says that he and party colleague Martin McGuinness will take the case of the Slaughtneil club ``as far as we can to get satisfaction''.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1