[Sinn Fein]

5th April 2002

Kelly calls on Blair to intervene to end dirty tricks campaign

Sinn Fein North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly has called on the British Prime Minister Tony Blair to `directly and immediately intervene with his securocrats and order a halt to the dirty-tricks campaign of arrests, raids and intimidation against republicans.' Mr Kelly said:

``The Castlereagh raid was an inside job. Whatever the purpose behind it, the attacks on Republicans by the Special Branch, the spooks, and their uniformed agencies, are both part of a smokescreeen to divert attention away from the real culprits, and a means of attacking and undermining the peace process.

This is a very serious situation. The securocrats must not be allowed to succeed in their aim of subverting the peace process. The British Prime Minister cannot sit back and allow those agencies that he has responsibility for to continue with this strategy. He must call a halt now.'

`If anyone wants to understand why the PSNI is unacceptable to nationalists and republicans they need look no further than the events of recent days in North Belfast and the raids and arrests of republicans.

For almost 2 years there has been a planned and directed pogrom against Catholics in north Belfast and elsewhere from the UDA, an organisation riddled with Special Branch agents.

At the weekend and since the UDA attacked Catholic homes on North Queen St and the Limestone Road in North Belfast.  The UDA it is alleged has threatened `war or peace' on the back of 30 bomb and gun attacks in the 24 hour period. Where are the arrests? What has the police force done about all of this? Where are the convictions? Where is their video evidence against the bombers, the gunmen and those orchestrating this very public campaign on the streets of North Belfast?

The reality is that the police force has instead chosen to target and attack the Catholic community of north Belfast. It is Catholics who have been batoned and brutalised, and all of this against the backdrop of raids and arrests of republicans.

On the experience to date; the Special Branch frustration of the Ombudsman's report in to the Omagh bombing, the failure to take on the UDA, the role of Special branch agents within the UDA in the pogrom against Catholics and in the killing of William Stobie before Christmas, and now the targeting of republicans and our families; nationalists and republicans can with justification assert that there is no difference between the RUC and the PSNI.

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