Are the Gardaí/Free State army now actively participating in home raids in Belfast?

Sinn Féin Poblachtach members in Belfast believe a recent raid on one of its member’s homes was a joint PSNI/Garda operation.

On May 17, 2020, the home of a member of the McKelvey/Steele Cumann, Sinn Féin Poblachtach, Belfast was ransacked in West Belfast in a series of sinister events carried out by British Crown Forces. It is the belief of the Cumann that the Free State army and 26-County Gardaí assisted the RUC/PSNI in the raid.

At 9am on May 17 a member of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, Béal Feirste, awoke to noise outside his home. He observed seven RUC/PSNI armoured jeeps and two CID private cars outside his home. The activist opened his front door and was approached by two plainclothes British operatives. They stated that they were there to conduct a search of the home for explosives, wireless apparatus and ammunition. The activist refused them entry and asked to see a warrant on which one RUC member stated “we don’t need a warrant, we have a signed authority by the inspector to search the premises and all those within the home”. The armed uniformed RUC/PSNI then forced their way into the home, running to each room, shouting police, causing trauma to the young children. The activist’s pregnant partner and seven children were awakened by masked Crown Force members standing at the bottom of their beds. They forced the activist’s partner and traumatised children out of their beds and downstairs. All the family were then searched.

Meanwhile the four plainclothes police waited outside the home as if waiting for others to arrive. Two marked Toyota Landcruiser jeeps arrived, the occupants were wearing boiler suits with military technical equipment and two K-9 dogs. The men all spoke with a Dublin accent and were greeted by the plainclothes RUC members. They had great difficulty understanding each other’s accent; they shook hands and were then heard to say “glad to have ya’s up with us”.

The Free State forces in boiler suits then searched the house and the outer grounds with technical equipment. They proceeded to ransack the interior of the home and search the gardens and outer perimeter. Our activist was disgusted when he walked into the living -room to hear a conversation between his five-year old child and a peeler in which the child asked “why are you here”, the uniformed peeler responded “we are here for your daddy’s bombs”.

The RUC helicopter flew overhead and the neighbours began coming out of their homes in community support for the Sinn Féin Poblachtach activist and his family. One neighbour even approached the family home under siege and took the traumatised young children to his home. Another approached the plainclothes peelers, stating that it was harassment and that they were not wanted. The resident was pushed by one of the police so he lifted a stick to defend himself, following which another plainclothes British operative drew his gun, pointed it directly towards the concerned resident and proceeded to give chase. The Sinn Féin Poblachtach activist observed the Free State and Crown Forces conferring with each other. He approached them and addressed the fact of the abuse of powers, harassment and jurisdiction. He was greeted with ignorance, then one cited cross-border policing.

In the process of ransacking the home the activist stated quite clearly for them not to touch the Urn with their beloved child’s ashes in it. To the family’s horror the Urn was opened and poured onto the bed, resulting in a confrontation with the grieving family expressing their disgust. When finished ransacking the family’s home the search party proceeded to search the neighbourhood grounds, alleys and green with metal detectors and K-9 sniffer dogs.

A blender household appliance was taken in the raid. The raid lasted four hours, from 9.05am to 1.15pm. The ordeal didn’t end then. The Crown Forces called back to the home several hours later when the activist wasn’t at home. They told his partner that they wanted to speak to him. Later again that night in the early hours around 1am an RUC armoured jeep parked outside the home and proceeded to shine the spotlight through the bedroom windows scaring the children. Sinn Féin Poblachtach members, this activist and in particular his partner, have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and British political policing through stop and searches and home raids, which in one incident saw this activist’s female partner beaten with flick sticks.

This intimidation, harassment, psychological and physical abuse will not deter Sinn Féin Poblachtach from our objectives nor will it kill the will of activists to be free. The Republican Movement and Sinn Féin Poblachtach strongly condemn the attacks on our members and their families; we send our support and solidarity.

An Phoblacht Abú.

Éire Abú.

Sinn Féin Poblachtach

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