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Raid on home of former Sinn Féin councillor 'evidence of political policing agenda'

15 February, 2006

Sinn Féin South Down MLA Willie Clarke has described the PSNI raid on the home of former Sinn Féin councillor Francie Braniff in Ballynahinch as both farcical and further evidence of the political policing agenda.

Mr Clarke said:

"The PSNI raid on the home of Francie Braniff this morning on the pretence of looking for materials related to the Northern Bank Robbery was motivated by a political policing agenda. It was a total farce. The PSNI were there for less than 15 minutes.

"The targeting of Sinn Féin elected representatives and political activists is further evidence of the political policing agenda. Activities such as this validate Sinn Féin‚s position on policing and prove beyond any doubt the negative role being played by elements of the RUC old guard within the PSNI in directing and formulating policy and direction.

"Those securocrats behind this mornings raid on the Braniff family home are the same people who collapsed the political institutions, the same people who provide the nonsense which makes up IMC reports and the same people who have for decades controlled unionist murder gangs in their campaign against the nationalist and republican community. The British government need to bring these dissident elements to heel.

"From Tony Blair to Peter Hain and Hugh Orde, the SDLP and the Policing Board these people cannot avoid the reality of political policing and their responsibility in overseeing it. Clearly they now have a big job of work in trying to convince nationalists and republicans that the PSNI is capable of operating in an accountable, non-politically partisan and acceptable fashion." ENDS

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