Protest over PSNI raids
PSNI police raided the home of a former Sinn Fein councillor in
County Down this week as part of continuing efforts to smear the
party over last year's Northern bank raid.
Sinn Fein assembly member Willie Clarke said the home of Francie
Braniff was motivated by a "political policing agenda".
No-one was arrested following the search, which lasted for less
than 15 minutes.
Mr Clarke said such activities validated Sinn Féin's position on
policing and proved the "negative role" being played by elements
of the "RUC old guard" within the renamed police force.
"Those securocrats behind this mornings raid on the Braniff
family home are the same people who collapsed the political
institutions, the same people who provide the nonsense which
makes up IMC reports and the same people who have for decades
controlled unionist murder gangs in their campaign against the
nationalist and republican community," said Mr Clarke.
"The British government need to bring these dissident elements to
"From Tony Blair to Peter Hain and Hugh Orde, the SDLP and the
Policing Board these people cannot avoid the reality of political
policing and their responsibility in overseeing it. Clearly they
now have a big job of work in trying to convince nationalists and
republicans that the PSNI is capable of operating in an
accountable, non-politically partisan and acceptable fashion."
The PSNI continues to blame the Provisional IRA for the
controversial December 2004 heist, the largest in Irish history.
Although no evidence has emerged to back the claims, four men
have separately appeared in court on charges related to the
All charges against one man were dropped last December without
explanation. The other three have denied the charges and are on
High Court bail. It is estimated that any trial will not take
place for at least two years.
Meanwhile, it is believed that a former vice-president of Sinn
Féin, Phil Flynn, has not been included in a police file into the
alleged laundering of the proceeds of the Northern Bank raid sent
to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) this week.
Mr Flynn was a director of Chesterton Finance, the company which
found itself at the centre of the Garda police investigation into
the discovery of a large sum of cash in Cork last February. The
money was linked by the Gardai to the Northern bank raid,
although no evidence emerged to substantiate the claim.
The linking by the Gardai of Mr Flynn, a confidante of 26-County
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and a former president of the ICTU trade
union, to IRA money-laundering caused a sensation when the
details emerged 12 months ago.