27 September 2001 Edition

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Meehan granted leave to appeal gun refusal

Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan has been granted leave to appeal a decision by the NIO to refuse him a gun licence.

Despite being targeted on numerous occasions by loyalists and being told by the RUC that his details are in the hands of loyalists, the NIO have consistently refused to permit Meehan a gun for personal protection.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, the veteran Ardoyne republican said he was refused the gun licence ``because of previous convictions''.

Welcoming the High Court's decision, Meehan said this case would be a turning point for ex-prisoners who live in fear of their lives.

At the beginning of the year, both of Meehan's sons' homes were the subject of loyalist gun and bomb attacks while his own home was targeted.

It is thought that the UDA, who are behind the yearlong campaign of attacks on nationalists and their homes, singled out the Meehans because of their work to organise Sinn Féin in the Antrim area.

``I have lost count of the number of times I have been informed by the RUC about death threats made against me by loyalist paramilitaries,'' said Meehan. ``I am one of the few republicans placed on the key persons protection list, which just proves the seriousness of the threats to my life. It is essential that I am granted a gun licence both for my own personal safety and that of my family and I will fight this all the way to the Court of Appeal if necessary.''

The judicial review will be heard in the High Court.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1