morning at 10:00 am the PSNI/RUC, heavily armed and
in riot gear, moved into the Brandywell area of Derry
and occupied two homes belonging to family members
of republican POW Seamus Doherty. These occupations
were carried out under the auspices of house searches.
The RUC claimed to be carrying out the raids in connection
with an IRPWA protest at the Prison Service headquarters
in Dundonald House in Belfast last summer. During
the raid the RUC ransacked both houses taking away
items such as placards, republican calendars and other
items such as handicrafts and photos. The RUC also
read personal letters written by Seamus to his family
from inside Maghaberry Gaol. A large number of friends
and neighbours gathered outside the houses to check
that the family were not being abused and the Riot
Squad raised their batons as if to charge on at least
three separate occasions. Young members of the Doherty
family were left traumatised outside the houses for
the duration of the raid.
number of questions have to be asked of the RUC in
this instance, why raid homes now in connection with
an incident in which the NIO have already stated nothing
illegal took place and no convictions would be sought?
Why take items that have absolutely no connection
to the alleged incident that necessitated the search,
placards used during the protest having been seized
of the homes raided was that of Seamus Dohertys
parents, who did not even attend last years protest.
Why was their home raided in such a heavy handed way
when the RUC know full well Seamus mother Tilly
suffers from a serious heart condition?
right have RUC personnel to read private correspondence
from a prisoner to his family, particularly as this
correspondence has already passed through prison censors?
IRPWA believe that these raids were purely political
and designed to put pressure on republicans and their
families. It is no coincidence that these raids have
occurred shortly after a UTV Insight programme that
exposed police malpractice and corruption and also
called seriously into question the charges brought
against Seamus Doherty. The IRPWA have no doubt that
the charges against Seamus Doherty have been constructed
for purely political reasons just as the raids on
his family have been carried out for purely political
final question, will Policing Board Vice-Chairman
Denis Bradley take time out from berating republicans
and condemn the actions of the RUC in relation to
these incidents and further more can he explain why
he is the Vice-Chairman of an agency that seeks to
legitimise the actions of such a police force?
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives