Celts fans quizzed on Northern Bank

Celtic fans travelling to Saturday’s SPL game with Motherwell at Parkhead were quizzed by Scottish police about the Northern Bank raid.

The Andersonstown News received phone calls yesterday from various supporters telling how they were singled out and questioned by Dumfries and Galloway police at Scottish ports, while making their way to and from the match, and some supporters said they were shocked to find themselves being questioned on the £26.5million Northern Bank heist.

As we went to press last night there were reports of other Celtic fans being detained.

Scottish cops ask fans if they knew who was involved in robbery

Celtic supporters from Belfast, who were detained by Scottish police over the weekend, found themselves being questioned about the Northern Bank heist.

And the Andersonstown News can reveal that fathers and mothers bringing their kids through Cairnryan port over the weekend were also asked details about their children and other members of their families.

And as we went to press last night there were further reports of other Celtic fans being detained at Scottish ports as they made their way home from Glasgow, many of them again said that they were questioned on the £26.5million Northern Bank robbery.

New ‘anti-terror’ laws have seen a number of supporters being detained by Scottish police over recent months as they travelled to Celtic games.

However, over the weekend Celtic supporters have told the Andersonstown News that more people than ever seemed to be detained and questioned for long periods of time.
As fans made their way to Saturday’s Celtic versus Motherwell match, cops asked many supporters their names, ages and place of birth of their kids – many of them just 10-years-old and younger.

A number of Celtic supporters contacted the Andersonstown News over the weekend to tell how they had been:

• detained in “cabins” for hours and interrogated by Dumfries and Galloway police without any access to a solicitor

• asked details of their kids and their fathers and mothers
• told that ‘files’ had to be updated
• told they could be held for up to NINE hours
• questioned on what they knew about the Northern Bank raid
• had possessions including mobile phones tampered with.
Hundreds of Celtic fans from Belfast make the journey to Scotland every week to watch their heroes.

Last night ex-political prisoner Eddie Higgins – a regular Celtic visitor to Parkhead – who was travelling with two friends to see Celtic’s 2-0 victory over Motherwell expressed outrage at his treatment.

And he said he also suspected his detention was because of a rally to commemorate Bloody Sunday taking place in the centre of Glasgow on Saturday.

He was travelling with mates Tomboy Loudon, a father of three, and Gerard Magee, a father of seven.

“They just asked a lot of stupid questions. It’s just a lot of harassment for people going to a match,” he said.

“They asked one of us did we believe the IRA carried out the Northern Bank job, and we just refused to comment on it. It was ridiculous, but they detained us for several hours.

“There was a Bloody Sunday march that was attacked by loyalists on Saturday in Glasgow, which was the first time it had been in the city centre.
“I am well used to being stopped, but I take exception when my kids are being asked about.”

Scottish folk group Shebeen who were travelling back to Glasgow after playing two nights in West Belfast said they had been asked the same questions about the Northern Bank heist.

Singer Alan Quinn who performed at the Andersonstown Social Club and the Roddys said he was asked if he knew “anyone involved in the peace process” who had been involved in the robbery.

“They also asked about our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and kids. They held us for four hours from around 9.20 in the morning to the afternoon,” he said.

“They took fingerprints and had sniffer dogs around our van.

“A sister of one of the group who came over to play with us for the first time was really distressed.

“We were asked if we knew any republicans.

“We had £500 payment for the band and they took down the serial numbers of all the Northern Bank notes.”

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said he had written a letter to both the Scottish First Minister and to Celtic to highlight the abuse of Irish supporters being harassed by Scottish police.

“I was stopped from making a public speech in August about collusion.
“There is a whole range of issues here. In parts of Glasgow they are coming in and demanding the removal of Irish songs from jukeboxes.

“Again it’s the criminalisation of republicanism,” he said.

“The politicians are staying mute about it despite a rise in sectarian attacks against Catholics in that country.”

A spokesperson from Dumfries and Galloway police constabulary last night refused to comment.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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