Checkpoint Gunmens' Propaganda 'Coup'

An illegal 'checkpoint' operated by republican gunmen just across the border in Co Down has been been 'facilitated' by the PSNI.

Leaflets warning people not to co-operate with the police on either side of the border were handed out by dissident republicans at the road stop which happened on Friday night near the village of Meigh.

The leaflets also advised against people speaking with the UK security service, MI5 - or even Sinn Féin - and also carried threats against anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing.

According to SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley: "This was an attempt by this group to make themselves relevant.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "A routine police patrol came upon what they believed to be suspicious activity in the Meigh area of Newry and pulled back to allow the situation to be fully evaluated.

"This activity was confirmed as being a number of armed men illegally stopping vehicles.

"An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident should contact police."

However, the literal police 'U-turn' has been slammed by South Armagh-based victims' campaigner Willie Frazer.

He said that he understood the officers, who wanted to move into the scene on Friday night to make arrests, were ordered by their superiors to leave the area.

In turn, the PSNI have refused to deny that it ordered police officers who came across dissident republican gunmen stopping traffic in south Armagh to return to their station rather than investigating.

Mr Frazer said that it was farcical for the PSNI to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information: "They would have to take statements from themselves," he told the Belfast News Letter.

"These men were armed to the teeth and were stopping traffic to give out leaflets urging people not to cooperate with the police.

"Yet they were not allowed to engage them and take them on. This is not the first time that this has happened.

"The PSNI has allowed this gang to succeeded in intimidating people."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 August 2010
Derry Barracks Blasted Overnight
A bomb blast has devastated the area round a Londonderry police station. The PSNI said two men, one armed with a gun, hijacked a taxi driver shortly before 3am this morning and that the bomb was loaded into his car after which he was forced to drive to the police station.
02 November 2011
All Ireland Police Team Tackle GB Opponents
The newly branded Ireland Police Rugby team will take on a British Police Select Team at Newforge in Belfast later today. The Ireland Police Rugby Team is a combination of members of An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
04 September 2009
PSNI Cuts Uproar
An already financially beleaguered police service is facing fresh cutbacks. As a result, the Northern Ireland Policing Board is to challenge the Government over proposed £17m cuts in the police service budget. Members are expected to hold a crunch meeting with the NIO Security Minister, it has been announced.
26 January 2011
Riots' Photo ID Successes 'Wrong'
Identifying young rioters by publishing pictures of them is 'wrong' according to a report published by a committee of the North's Policing Board.