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Omagh Sinn Fein office raid akin to Keystone Cops script

24 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Begley has said that the comedy of errors surrounding the large scale raid by PSNI on his party's Constituency Offices at James Street in Omagh yesterday was like something you would expect to find in a script of the 'Keystone Cops' and that credible answers must be forthcoming about yesterday's fiasco.

Cllr Begley said:

"At around 5pm yesterday a large force of PSNI in vans and cars speed through Omagh Town Centre with sirens blazing. The PSNI convey then came to a halt at the Sinn Fein Constituency Offices on James Street where baton wielding personnel entered the building through the front and back doors.

"An elderly women has already been in touch with me to say that she was nearly knocked down after a PSNI vehicle travelling at a very high speed mounted the kerb in the vicinity of John / James Street.

"They left almost as speedily as they had arrived and stunned staff were at a total loss as to the reason for this inexplicable raid and the PSNI's over the top antics.

"A PSNI source has subsequently fed the media the line that the raid was in an actual fact a case of mistaken identity and that the intended target was actually the Sinn Fein offices in Cookstown.

"How the PSNI mixed the Sinn Fein office in Omagh up with the office in Cookstown which is 26 miles away is anyone's guess, but given that it has now transpired that the actual incident in Cookstown that the PSNI were responding was not related in any way to the party I would question the motivation of the PSNI.

"I am also astounded that the PSNI were able to make such a large number of resources available within a few minutes notice when the target was a Sinn Féin office. However very many people in the community who have suffered from crime are waiting many days to see a response from the PSNI, if that response comes at all.

"While yesterday's actions by the PSNI were akin to something you would expect to find in the script of the Keystone Cops, there are many serious questions remaining about what happened yesterday and Sinn Fein will be expecting credible answers." ENDS

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