The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
PSNI/RUC Occupies POW's Family Homes

Marian Price and Martin Mulholland,
Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association • 25 February 2004

This morning at 10:00 am the PSNI/RUC, heavily armed and in riot gear, moved into the Brandywell area of Derry and occupied two homes belonging to family members of republican POW Seamus Doherty. These occupations were carried out under the auspices of house searches. The RUC claimed to be carrying out the raids in connection with an IRPWA protest at the Prison Service headquarters in Dundonald House in Belfast last summer. During the raid the RUC ransacked both houses taking away items such as placards, republican calendars and other items such as handicrafts and photos. The RUC also read personal letters written by Seamus to his family from inside Maghaberry Gaol. A large number of friends and neighbours gathered outside the houses to check that the family were not being abused and the Riot Squad raised their batons as if to charge on at least three separate occasions. Young members of the Doherty family were left traumatised outside the houses for the duration of the raid.

A number of questions have to be asked of the RUC in this instance, why raid homes now in connection with an incident in which the NIO have already stated nothing illegal took place and no convictions would be sought? Why take items that have absolutely no connection to the alleged incident that necessitated the search, placards used during the protest having been seized last summer?

One of the homes raided was that of Seamus Doherty’s parents, who did not even attend last years protest. Why was their home raided in such a heavy handed way when the RUC know full well Seamus’ mother Tilly suffers from a serious heart condition?

What right have RUC personnel to read private correspondence from a prisoner to his family, particularly as this correspondence has already passed through prison censors?

The IRPWA believe that these raids were purely political and designed to put pressure on republicans and their families. It is no coincidence that these raids have occurred shortly after a UTV Insight programme that exposed police malpractice and corruption and also called seriously into question the charges brought against Seamus Doherty. The IRPWA have no doubt that the charges against Seamus Doherty have been constructed for purely political reasons just as the raids on his family have been carried out for purely political reasons.

One final question, will Policing Board Vice-Chairman Denis Bradley take time out from berating republicans and condemn the actions of the RUC in relation to these incidents and further more can he explain why he is the Vice-Chairman of an agency that seeks to legitimise the actions of such a police force?
















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

25 February 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Naming Bobby Sands Street

Pedram Moallemian


Suspended Belief
J. Sean Burns


Kelly's Cellars
Anthony McIntyre


Stop Press!
Jimmy Sands


PSNI/RUC Occupies POW's Family Homes
Marian Price and Martin Mulholland


Did the Black and Tans Run From the Rifles of the IRA?
Liam O Ruairc


Stevens, Inquiries, Resistance to Change
David Michael


Provisionals Attempt to Censor and Exclude RSF in Scotland
Seamus Reader


Provisional Police?
George Young


20 February 2004


A Malignant Menage d'trois

Anthony McIntyre


On the Record
Kathleen O'Halloran


David Lidington
Eamon Sweeney


The Buck Stops Here
Brian Mór


Loyalist Racism and Terror Attacks
Paul Mallon


Foundations for Development Laid as Sinn Fein Goes Unionist
Eamonn McCann


All Are Targets
Mohammed Omer


Calendar of Events
Belfast Anti-War Movement




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