‘Heavy-handedness’ raised after Creggan Saoradh activist’s arrest

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Independent councillor for The Moor, Gary Donnelly, has accused the PSNI of ‘heavy-handedness’ after two pensioners were caught up in raids in the Creggan area on Friday morning.

Three men were arrested by the PSNI in the estate following raids in connection with republican activity in Creggan Heights.

Saoradh confirmed one of those arrested on Friday was a member of the party, which will hold its Ard Fheis in the city tomorrow.

Patrick Gallagher, a spokesman for Junior McDaid House, Saoradh’s Derry headquarters, said: “Once again we have a concerted effort by British Crown Forces against republicans in this community.

“The targeting and arrest of a Saoradh activist including the raiding of his elderly parents’ home will not go unnoticed. Over the past number of days our communities have been in lockdown and this appears to be the end result.”

Colr. Donnelly who was in attendance while the arrest operation was going on, also claimed a number of pensioners were caught up in the operation.

“One of the homes raided was the home of two pensioners, one of whom is disabled and is just recovering from a knee replacement,” Colr. Donnelly told the ‘Journal’.

“Both of these people are very traumatised and shook-up. The police on the ground were very heavy-handed and refused permission for people to go into the house to make sure they were okay.

“There’s absolutely no need for this. It’s an attack on this community.”

Colr. Donnelly, who as a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, rejects the PSNI as a ‘British police force,’ despite it enjoying the overwhelming support of the electorate across the North, said: “Those clamouring, trying to ram this police force down our throats, they were absent here today.

“All these elected representatives who continuously promote this British police force. None of them showed up. This was an attack on two vulnerable members of our society.”

Police confirmed on Friday that detectives investigating dissident republican activity in the city had arrested three men, aged 26, 32 and 40 years, following an operation in Creggan Heights. The force also refuted Colr. Donnelly and Mr. Gallagher’s allegations of heavy-handedness.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “If anyone has a complaint to make about the actions of police, they can contact the Office of the Police Ombudsman and no inference should be drawn from this.”