21 January 1999 Edition

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Branch harassment

Cobh Sinn Fein Councillor Kieran McCarthy is calling on the Minister for Justice to explain if the Garda Special Branch are operating under the political direction of the Dublin government or whether they are working to an agenda of their own.

McCarthy's question follows the weekend appearance of five car loads of Special Branch officers outside a public meeting at Carrigtwohill community centre in East Cork.

The meeting billed to include northern Assembly member Dara O' Hagan, was called to publicise the conditions endured by Garvaghy Road nationalists.

Kieran McCarthy said people going to and coming from the peaceful public meeting were harassed and intimidated by the Special Branch. Some were stopped in their cars on their way home and at least one man was prevented from entering the meeting and had a camera taken from him.

McCarthy said freedom of political expression is a basic tenet of the Good Friday deal and no amount of obstruction will prevent Sinn Fein from highlighting to people in the south of what life is like for northern nationalists.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1