Sinn Féin has slammed the PSNI after a party activist was arrested and another cautioned as they carried out the annual promotion of the Easter Lily in Omagh.
The incident happened on Wednesday night, 16 April, in Gortmore Park in the town.
First introduced by Cumann na mBan in 1925, the Easter Lily has since been worn by Irish Republicans every year to remember Ireland’s Patriot Dead.
Omagh Council Chairperson Marty McColgan said,
“I condemn the arrest and caution of two Sinn Féin activists for promoting the Easter Lily, particularly the heavy-handed manner in which the arrest took place. This is retrograde political policing at its worst. And it must end immediately.
“We have the crazy situation, where I officially launched the Easter Lily in the Council Offices yesterday, yet today the PSNI are arresting and cautioning republicans for promoting it.
“Following a long litany of complaints against the PSNI in Omagh, this latest action will further reinforce the collapse of public confidence in the PSNI locally.
“We will be challenging the PSNI to ensure that political policing like this is ended. We will be raising this incident through our Policing Board members.
“And Sinn Féin MLAs will be meeting with new PSNI District Commander Kevin Dunwoody next week and this incident will be top of the agenda.
“The activists in question also plan to file a complaint with the Police Ombudsman. And Sinn Féin councillors will be challenging the PSNI area commander to get on top of what seems to be a break down in discipline of their officers on the ground.”