20 February 2003 Edition

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O'Broin held at Heathrow

Sinn Féin councillor Eoin Ó Broin and a West Belfast Community worker Sean Murray were detained by British Special Branch as they returned from a Parades Commission backed trip to South Africa on Wednesday 19 February.

Special Branch members began questioning the pair on the detail of the discussions held in South Africa, which was also attended by unionist councillors and Protestant community workers.

Ó Broin told An Phoblact, "this was political harassment of the most obvious kind as they had obviously been well briefed by their colleagues in the PSNI Special Branch. They knew the background and motivation for the South African trip.

"Before we left for South Africa we were detained at Belfast Airport, but on our return nine British Special Branch officers were waiting for us at Heathrow, where they questioned us about the meetings in South Africa."

The pair missed their connecting flight to Belfast from Heathrow as Special Branch refused to return Murray's passport. "We had to wait five and a half hours until we could board a flight to Belfast. This is blatant harassment, I will be raising this matter with both the British and Irish governments," said Ó Broin.

The South African meetings dealt with conflict resolution between the two communities in the North and the two men reported a very constructive engagement with various groupings.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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