Derry Journal

Police Asked Man To Spy On Council - Claims Sinn Féin Councillor

Friday 1st October 2004

Special Branch officers have been accused of trying to blackmail a man to spy on the Sinn Féin chairman of Strabane District Council.

Councillor Jarlath McNulty has claimed that the Clady man was also asked to spy on two other local people after being arrested for drink driving.

West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty, has said he intends to raise the issue with the Irish and British Governments and demand an explanation.

Strabane Sinn Féin say the incident was exposed when the arrested man "refused to succumb to PSNI pressure" and contacted party officials upon his release from police custody last weekend.

Colr. Mc Nulty said: "The Clady man was arrested for drink driving offences over the weekend and, while in custody was approached by Special Branch officers who told him that the charges would disappear if he was prepared to spy on myself and two other named individuals in the Clady area.

"The man refused to succumb to this PSNI pressure and, upon his release from custody, he immediately contacted Sinn Féin about this attempted blackmail attempt."

Hitting out at the alleged incident, the Sinn Féin council chairman continued: "Those who tell us that we have got a new beginning to policing in the shape of the PSNI would need to take a reality check.

"Last Wednesday they were battering nationalist protesters in Omagh and a few days later they are attempting to exploit a person in a vulnerable position to spy on the democratically elected Chairperson of Strabane District Council and two other named individuals."

Jarlath McNulty (39), was elected to Strabane District Council in 1997 and was elected council chairman in June this year. He is also employed as training officer at Cairde, a republican exprisoners' centre in the town.

Also commenting in relation to the incident, West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty said: "This is further evidence of the control the securocrats have over policing and their attempts to undermine the work of Sinn Féin in this peace process.

"Combined with the recent discovery of bugging devices at the home of a member of Gerry Adams office staff and at Sinn Féin offices in Belfast, this is a further example of bad faith by the British Government."

Mr. Doherty announced that he would be raising the issue
directly with both the Irish and British Governments and would be demanding an explanation from the British Government.

When contacted in relation to the Strabane "spy" claims, a PSNI spokesman would only say: "If anyone believes they have genuine cause for complaint regarding the actions of any police officer they should contact the Police Ombudsman so that the matter can be fully investigated."

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