Loyalist death threat to Sinn Fein councillor
Sinn Fein South Antrim councillor Martin Meehan has been told by
the PSNI that his life is under threat from the Red Hand
Defenders(RHD). And according to Meehan the PSNI told him that
action would be taken against him within 24 hours of the
Meehan was informed of this latest threat to his life after
members of the PSNI approached him at a council meeting at Antrim
Borough Council offices on Thursday 30 January. The PSNI then
offered to escort Meehan from the Council building but he refused
and later left of his own accord.
Meehan now believes the PSNI may have information that unionist
paramilitaries were targeting him inside the council offices.
Meehan questioned the motives behind the PSNI's offer to escort
him from the building.
"I would like to know how the PSNI knew I was in the building. I
change my daily routine because I have been threatened by
unionist paramilitaries so many times before. I have been refused
a licence for a legally held firearm because of intervention from
the PSNI and now they want to escort me from the council offices.
It makes you wonder?".
Meehan went on to say that three other members of South Antrim
Sinn Fein had also been threatened.
He criticised the PSNI for failing to provide him with full
details about the threat.
"All the PSNI will tell me is that the threat was from the Red
Hand Defenders, which is a cover name for the UDA, and that
action would be taken against me within 24 hours.
"My life has been threatened and members of my family have been
attacked before by unionist paramilitaries, but I can assure the
people of South Antrim these death threats will not deflect from
my resolution to see political progress made".
The Sinn Fein man concluded by saying, "the crisis within
unionism and loyalism is destabilising the peace process and its
time for pro agreement unionists and loyalists to make a stand
and condemn all threats from unionist paramilitaries against
members of my party and all nationalists".
Meanwhile it has emerged that in the past week nationalists
living in Ardoyne and Short Strand areas of Belfast have also
been threatened by the Red Hand Defenders.
A number of people in the Short Strand area were warned by
members of the PSNI on Monday 27 January that their personal
details had been discovered in the hands of loyalist death
East Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Joe O'Donnell said, "the fact
that the UDA has proven itself so volatile recently and given the
move in recent weeks by the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) to
pull out of the present talks and the public declaration by the
Ulster Volunteer Force that they are re-arming, recruiting and
targeting nationalists this is a very worrying period of time and
these threats should be taken seriously".
Also on on Thursday 30 January the RHD, using a coded message
issued to the BBC, threatened the lives of four nationalists
living in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast.
Sinn Fein councillor for Ardoyne Margaret McClenaghan said,
"these threats are straight from the UDA and are a continuation
of the loyalist campaign against nationalist in North Belfast.
These threats must be lifted immediately and the targeting of the
nationalist community by unionist paramilitaries must end now".