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Sinn Féin to lodge Ombudsman complaint about Coleraine policing response

28 May, 2009 - by Cathal Ó hOisín

Sinn Féin MLA Francie Brolly and Councillor Billy Leonard will meet with the Coleraine area PSNI commander Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum tonight (at 5.30pm in Ballymena PSNI Barracks) to raise serious concerns about the policing operation on the day of the brutal murder of Coleraine man, Kevin McDaid.

A full complaint will also be lodged with the Police Ombudsman.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Cllr Leonard said:

“The actions of the PSNI on the Sunday the 24th of May in Coleraine are a major contributing factor to the death of Kevin McDaid and to another man, Damian Fleming, being left on a life support machine in intensive care.

“There are a number serious questions including the assessment that despite clear tensions that the situation had de-escalated as loyalists were leaving a local bar and going home was wholly wrong and led to operational decisions that left the Somerset Drive / Pates Lane community completely unprotected. Leaving one car and two PSNI officers close by is not protection.

“On top of this extra PSNI resources, requested at 6.10pm were in Coleraine but only on stand-by at the crucial time of the attacks. Clearly these resources should have been deployed in a way that both protected residents in the Somerset Drive / Pates Lane area and prevented car loads of loyalists with weapons travelling to that area.

“The PSNI are there to protect vulnerable communities and in this instance are guilty of grave miscalculations and a massive dereliction of duty.

“We now also need to see genuine political leadership from unionism within the area to encourage and facilitate engagement to help build communities relations within the area.

“We will be raising our concerns at tonight’s meeting with Mr McCrum. We will also be lodging a full complaint with the police Ombudsman and calling for a full investigation into the police handling of the critical issues at on the day.” ENDS

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