Sinn Féin - On Your Side

RIR ammunition conviction exposes ongoing collusion crisis

30 July, 2004


Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has said that the conviction of a Lurgan based former RIR man for possession of ammunition provides further compelling evidence to support the demand for the immediate scrapping of the RIR.

Mr O'Dowd also described as astonishing the sentence - a £250 fine - given to the RIR soldier for the his second conviction for the possession of ammunition.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"This is the second time that this RIR man has been convicted in relation to possession of ammunition. Can anyone imagine a nationalist walking out of court a free man after telling the story this RIR man relayed to the court, never mind getting a £250 fine for a second arms offence. Any nationalist convicted in similar circumstances would have undoubtedly received a prison sentence.

"This case shows the blatant discriminatory nature of the judicial system. It also again shows why nationalist are correct to be deeply concerned about the RIR and the activities of its members both in and out of uniform.

"This comes in the middle of the Castlereagh collusion scandal where RIR personnel were suspended from duties including manning observation posts in nationalist areas following an investigation into the disappearance of a document containing the names of hundreds of people.

"The RIR and UDR have a track record of collusion with unionist paramilitaries. Few nationalists will doubt that this illegal cache of ammunition was destined for use by unionist paramilitaries. Similarly few will doubt that the document missing from Castlereagh is not now also in the hands of unionist paramilitaries.

"This is further compelling evidence, is any was needed, that the RIR is heavily involved in collusion with unionist paramilitaries. It is nothing more than an 'official' unionist paramilitary force. The RIR should go. While collusion continues to exists and the RIR remain nationalists will have little confidence in the ability of the British government or the NIO to deliver of Good Friday Agreement commitments." ENDS

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