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McGuigan lambasts PSNI

13 January, 2005

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Philip McGuigan, has lambasted the PSNI in Ballymena for what he describes as a pattern of politically motivated policing in the town.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Over a period of 6-8 months it is obvious to observers that the PSNI in Ballymena is more than content to continue with the anti-republican policies of the past. Their very public harassment of individuals, and of certain neighbourhoods is very clearly an attempt to demonise the Nationalist community in the town.

"This has included raids on people's property, the inappropriate use of CS spray, blanket policing of certain communities, and regular attempts to recruit informers. This is driven by senior police officers and it is obviously a policy against local nationalists.

"If people compare this type of policing to their lack of response to loyalist pipe bombs being laid at the door of the nationalist community last summer, they can clearly see the political agenda at play.

Mr. McGuigan continued:

"Sinn Féin has been in contact with the Irish representative of the British/Irish Intergovernmental Conference and have given an update on the local policing situation. They have a clear responsibility to stand up for the rights of Irish citizens in the north and we will be pushing for them to fulfil this role. I have also invited them to Ballymena to talk to those affected by this policy of partisan policing and give them an insight into how badly the police are acting on the ground." ENDS

Mr McGuigan has also been in contact with the Police Ombudsman's office to raise his concerns.

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