Confidence in PSNI being undermined - Brady
Speaking after meeting with senior PSNI officers in Newry yesterday, Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Mickey Brady said there was a concern in the community in South Armagh that the PSNI was failing to deal with a small number of people in the Cullyhanna area involved in criminality and intimidation.
Mr Brady said:
“For the past number of years we have been highlighting the activities of a small number of people involved in widespread criminality in the Cullyhanna area of South Armagh. The PSNI have, despite the support of the local community, failed to deal with the gang involved.
“This gang shot local man Michael Bellew as part of a campaign of intimidation to force him from his home, attempted to murder Frank McCabe junior and are routinely involved in a wide range of criminality generating huge sums of money. Yet despite all of this it seems to the local community those involved seemed to operate with impunity.
“The failure of the PSNI to tackle this gang is undermining community confidence in their ability to carry out the basic functions of a policing service. It seems the people involved are protected from investigation and prosecution.”
Party colleague and local Assembly member Megan Fearon said:
“The vast majority of people in South Armagh are law abiding and reject absolutely the criminality associated with this gang. However people should rightly expect the PSNI to step up to the plate and do the job they are supposed to fulfil. The perception that a number of individuals are being allowed to operate above the law is undermining community confidence.
“Sinn Féin will be seeking a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton to once again highlight the community concerns at his forces failure to secure prosecutions and investigate properly the activities of this group.
“The PSNI leadership must move to reassure the local community that individuals involved in criminality are not being allowed to continue to operate with impunity as they are State Agents. This is the perception which currently exists.
“The Fresh Start Agreement promised a new approached to dealing with this sort of criminal gang, yet six months on the ground there seems to be little evidence of the PSNI changing their approach.”