The group behind a planned protest that led to a PSNI recruitment session at the Waterfoot Hotel being rescheduled has hit out at allegations they intended to disrupt the event.
In a statement to the ‘Journal’, the Republican Network Unity (R.N.U.) insisted had Saturday’s PSNI recruitment event gone ahead they would have engaged in a peaceful protest.
“Mark Hamilton [PSNI Assistant Chief Constable] made reference to ‘those who would seek to disrupt the day have shown no thought for others’. The RNU rejects this claim,” said RNU spokesperson, Tony Taylor.
“There would have been no disruption on our part and the only commotion we would have envisaged would have been the arrests of republicans that will not bow down to intimidation or threats. RNU. will challenge the PSNI at every level,” Mr. Taylor added.
The RNU also criticised local SDLP councillor and Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) member, Shauna Cusack, who said she was “disappointed” when she heard there was to be a protest at the event.
“We are alarmed by comments made by Colr. Shauna Cusack. Colr. Cusack’s statement is ironic because she called on anyone taking part in the protest to respect the human rights of others - this is what we intended to peacefully protest about.”
The PSNI took the decision to reschedule the recruitment event as it feared the protest might interfere with a wedding that was due to take place in the hotel last Saturday. The event is now due to take place in the same location next Saturday, October 17.
The Waterfoot Hotel was also sealed off by police on Friday after they received reports that a explosive device had been planted in the area. After an inspection a device was discovered in the grounds of the hotel and it was later described by police as “viable”.
The PSNI insist this coming Saturday’s recruitment event will go ahead as planned at the hotel.
“The RNU is calling on all republicans and like minded groups to stand shoulder to shoulder with us on Saturday October 17 as we challenge the PSNI head on,” said Mr. Taylor.
“The rescheduling of the recruitment event shows us that this would be a great opportunity for us to highlight political policing and the plight of our comrades who are incarcerated, to the national media.
“We will not be silent or stigmatised, our message will be heard loud and clear in Stormont, Leinster House and in the Houses of Parliament. In any democracy, people are entitled to freedom of speech and RNU will voice the injustices that are continuing to manifest in our society.”