Concerns raised over social services visit to family of Republican

The PSNI have responded following claims that the children of a Republican activist were interviewed by social services at the request of police.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 12:39 pm
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Saoradh said the children of the ex-prisoner were left upset after they were questioned by social workers who arrived at the family’s home in Derry.

They said that the incident followed widely-publicised comments attributed to the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne back in September, during which it was suggested children could be taken into care as a deterrent to dissident Republican violence.

Following criticism from nationalist representatives, the Chief Constable later said he was “not trying to describe was a blanket policy”.

A Saoradh spokesperson claimed: “Social services called to the family home of a Republican recently. They said the ‘PSNI phoned them’ and said that ‘maybe the father was violent towards the children’. They stressed the word ‘maybe’.”

Saoradh claimed that the children ‘were asked all sorts of terrible questions. Yet upon leaving, these social workers stated that they could see the children were happy and well looked after. They admitted that neither parent was ever on their radar’.

“So they left the home, but left a family upset and in a distraught state with children asking did they do something wrong or were they being taken away from their loving family home.”

The spokesperson further said that “statutory bodies must stand up and not let themselves be used as proxies”.

Responding, a PSNI spokesperson said: “While we do not comment on individual cases, it is important to say that if police receive information a child is at risk, we must work with partners to keep them safe. We will take action no matter what the background of the individuals allegedly posing the risk. The safety of children will always be our main concern.”

A Western Health and Social Care Trust spokesperson said: “Respecting confidentiality the Western Trust does not comment on individual patients or clients.”