Army deployment to be raised with Policing Board

A heavy PSNI presence in Derry's Ederowen Park on Wednesday morning during searches.
A heavy PSNI presence in Derry's Ederowen Park on Wednesday morning during searches.

A Derry Councillor has vowed to raise concerns over the deployment of British Army personnel to take part in house searches in Derry through the Policing Board.

SDLP Derry City & Strabane District Councillor for the Galliagh area Brian Tierney said the Secretary of State would also be asked for an explanation about events in the estate on Wednesday.

PSNI officers pictured raiding a bungalow in Glendale Park on Wednesday morning. DER3015MC052

PSNI officers pictured raiding a bungalow in Glendale Park on Wednesday morning. DER3015MC052

Colr. Tierney was speaking after the PSNI confirmed that Army personnel had taken part in searches conducted by senior detectives involved in probing dissident violent crime.

The searches took place at bungalows in both Ederowen Park and Glendale Park for over several hours on Wednesday.

PSNI Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan on Wednesday evening said: “There were no arrests, however a number of items were taken away for forensic examination.”

Speaking about the army deployment, he added: “Due to the suspected presence of munitions or explosives, military specialists were deployed in support of police.

Colr. Brian Tierney has warned parents to beware. (DER0314PG016)

Colr. Brian Tierney has warned parents to beware. (DER0314PG016)

“The role of these military personnel is to search for munitions and explosive devices which if located will then dealt with by the army bomb disposal officer.

“The military used are specifically trained in this type of high risk search thus ensuring that such searches are conducted in as safe a manner as possible.”

Speaking just prior to Chf Insp. Callaghan’s statement, Colr. Tierney said he would now be contacting the SDLP’s representatives on the Policing Board to raise questions over why the army were involved.

Speaking in general terms, he said: “We believe that all dissident or Loyalist action does need to be investigated, but we do believe the PSNI need to be doing that as they are accountable.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

“We will be asking questions at the Policing Board level and of the Secretary of State about what was going on, about people witnessing army personnel on their streets.

“We feel the community needs answers. The PSNI are accountable to the Policing Board and we need to hold them to account on behalf of the community as elected representatives.”

Colr. Tierney added that it was important to note that the absence of dissident devices would mean there would have been no justification for such deployments.

Meanwhile, the deployment of the army has sparked outrage from some Republican quarters, with the Irish Republican Socialist Party spokesman Danny Morrison expressing anger at their involvement in the raids in the Galliagh area.

Independent Derry City & Strabane District Councillor Dee Quigley also said he “disgusted” at what was taking place.