25 March 1999 Edition

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7-year-old detained by RUC

by Dan O'Neill
Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Crumley has accused the RUC in Derry of targeting children in a bid to heighten tensions in nationalist areas after a seven-year-old was detained by the RUC on his way home from school last week and taken to Strand Road RUC barracks.

The illegal detention of the Brandywell child is the latest in a series of incidents where young people and school children have been intimidated and assaulted by the RUC over the course of the past three weeks.

The boy's mother, Teresa Canning, said she couldn't believe what had happened to her child and slammed the behaviour of the RUC as ``an absolute disgrace.''

A shocked Mrs Canning explained that she had been waiting for her son Rory to come home from the Nazareth House school.

``I had got him a new computer game and I knew he would be coming straight home.

``Then these young children came to the door and told me that the RUC had put Rory into the back of a landrover and taken him away.

``I hoped that they might just drive him up the street and let him go but they didn't - they took him to Strand Road.''

The child's grandfather, Tony Rush, said, ``apparently the RUC were sitting in Deanery Street and they were taunting some children who started throwing some stones at them.

``I was told that Rory was not throwing stones.''

He added, ``they physically threw the child into the landrover, tearing his trousers in the process, before taking him away.''

The child's sister, Ciara (16) was also assaulted and threatened with arrest if she did not leave. The RUC screwed her arm up her back and threw her out of the barracks.

Teresa Canning said that when she went to the RUC barracks she saw a group of uniformed RUC personnel standing around somebody in a room.

``I was just saying to myself that there was an awful lot of policemen there when I heard a child sobbing. It was my child.''

She added: `` When I pushed in they were asking my child questions. I told them they had no right to arrest a child just turned seven but they informed me that they could arrest anyone they wanted.

``They really had a bad attitude and when I kept getting on to them one of them said: ``If you are looking to get arrested you are going the right way about it''.

She concluded, `` you think that a child of seven would be allowed to come home from school without being scared half to death. I think it is a disgrace that the RUC can just lift children of the streets and get away with it.''

Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Crumley accused the RUC of intimidating the child.

``The RUC has notably increased its presence in nationalist areas in recent times and are clearly intent on targeting young people in particular.

``The RUC is attempting to heighten tension in nationalist areas and the actions of this force only serves to confirm that the disbandment of the RUC is a prerequisite to the creation of an acceptable policing service'', he concluded.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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