These normalisation initiatives focused on both the British army and the British police, the PSNI.
These included a publicity stunt held in the Quays shopping centre on Saturday [October 13] in which the PSNI were put in the same light as genuine emergency services such as the fire, rescue and ambulance service.
This particular event was advertised as a ‘fun day for all the family’. For many families across Newry, their experiences of the PSNI have been far from fun. Countless citizens of Newry have endured house raids, and stop and searches at the hands of the PSNI.
Voicing the party’s anger, éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “Saturday’s event clearly tried to portray the PSNI as a “normal” emergency service when in fact they nothing of the sort.
“In recent weeks advertisements for the British army have appeared in Newry city centre as well.”
Stephen continued, “The British army’s record in Ireland consists of murder and brutality. These tactics have also been adapted in their recent imperialist exploits in other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Local people contacted our party and told us of their disgust that these recruitment advertisements were displayed in various parts of Newry.
“Indeed, to add further insult, one such advertisement, which depicted an armed British soldier, was displayed in Hill Street, just a few yards from the spot where three unarmed local men, Sean Ruddy (28), James McLaughlin (26) and Robert Anderson (26) were murdered in 1971 by British soldiers who shot them in cold blood.”
Murney added, “However the British army’s role in Ireland is not consigned to the past, it is very much part of the present day. British troops remain garrisoned in the Six Counties and the sinister Special Reconnaissance Regiment is on active operations here. Undercover British soldiers are currently involved in covert surveillance operations right across the North.
“éirígí will resist all attempts to normalise the presence of British forces – irrespective of whether they are British troops or British police.”