Sinn Fein Councillor Sean McGlinchey says his arrest by PSNI investigating paramilitary activity in the Dungiven area will not hinder his work with police to make a safer society.
The 59-year-old was arrested in Dungiven on Tuesday by police investigating paramilitary activity in the Dungiven area over the last four years. The former Mayor of Limavady was at work at around 8am when his family called him to say police were at his home.
Colr. McGlinchey’s wife and two daughters were ordered to leave the home as police conducted a search, which ended around lunchtime. He was taken to Antrim police station from where he was released just after 10pm on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to get into a PSNI bashing exercise about what happened, because myself and my party have invested too much in community policing and to making it work,” Colr. McGlinchey told the Journal: “I’m not above the law, no one is, but after the arrests last week I told police I was available for questioning and they had ample opportunity to speak with me.”
Colr. McGlinchey said he was quizzed about ‘The North Derry Republican Group’ and the murder of Jim McConnell in Derry. He said the line of questioning was “beyond a joke”.
“I’m no different to anyone else, or any of the other people arrested last week,” he said, “but I have made it clear, time and time again, I am against these attacks that police are investigating. That is not the way forward.”
Colr. McGlinchey said he had serious concerns about the search of his home and the others conducted as part of the investigation last week.
“Women and young children were put out of their homes and that is a serious concern,” he said. “Is this some type of new tactic and I will be raising this issue with the party leadership and with police,” said Colr. McGlinchey, who also said he feared his home was bugged during the search.
“I have nothing to hide,” said Colr. McGlinchey. “I am very disappointed at what happened, but it won’t put me, or my party off the work we do to making policing work because eveybody needs police. We will just have to work a bit harder and we’ll continue to work with local community policing.”
In response PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Una Jennings said: “This is a wide-ranging investigation encompassing numerous incidents including shootings and threats, most of which took place over a four-year period dating back to January 2011. It has been conducted to the highest professional standards and is subject to all the checks and balances provided by accountability arrangements and the criminal justice system.
“To date, a total of seven suspects have been interviewed. As police enquiries are continuing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time but if anyone has a complaint to make about the actions of police they should contact the Office of the Police Ombudsman.
“Police have a duty, to victims and to the community, to follow all lines of enquiry without fear or favour. We are committed to treating everyone equally before the law.”