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Orde responds in hurling stick row - it is not an offensive weapon

2 July, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Chief Constable Hugh Orde has been forced to clarify the position regarding the PSNI’s attitude to Gaelic Games, Policing Board member and Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has revealed.

It comes after an incident last week when police officers allegedly told a group of Derry teenagers who were playing hurling near their Waterside homes, that their hurls constituted offensive weapons.

Martina Anderson said:

“I raised this matter directly with the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

“I asked Hugh Orde to clarify the PSNI’s position in regard to Gaelic Games and to confirm that hurls would not be treated any differently than any other sporting implement.

“He has now confirmed to me that a hurling stick is not – in itself – regarded as an offensive weapon.

“Like any other instrument, it can only be regarded as an offensive weapon if the person in possession of it intended to use it as such. That could be true of a hockey stick or a golf club, just as much as it could be of a hurl.

“Any suggestion that police officers would attempt to criminalise Gaelic games would be entirely unacceptable and I hope Hugh Orde’s response will communicated to the rank and file in the PSNI so that there is no repetition of ths incident. I also welcome the fact that the local Area Commander has offered to meet the family concerned in order to address their concerns.”

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