Republicans' anger over bank raid

09/02/2005 - 21:56:24

Republicans tonight expressed anger at a police search operation in Co Tyrone in connection with the £26.5m (€38.4m) Northern Bank raid.

A water main was damaged as two homes were searched during an operation outside the village of Beragh.

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty said: “The PSNI moved into two family homes in the Roscavey area outside Beragh this morning. They claimed in their warrant that the searches were part of the investigation into the Northern Bank robbery.

“Already the outsides of the homes have been dug up and water supplies have been cut off. The wife of the man who owns one of the homes was prevented from travelling to work this morning,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that a number of searches were carried out in connection with a serious crime investigation.

“We can confirm that a water main was burst during the search operation at Beragh but it has now been repaired and police regreat any inconvenience caused to the community.”

Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde has said the IRA was behind the raid on the Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast on December 20.

The homes of republicans were searched in Belfast in a follow-up to the heist. The IRA has denied involvement in the robbery and last week withdrew its offer to decommmission its weapons, accusing the Irish and British governments of damaging the peace process.

Mr Doherty claimed the searches were part of a campaign against republicans.

“It has nothing to do with the Northern Bank robbery and everything to do with intimidating and harassing the nationalist community. No doubt it will eventually end as all of their other searches relating to this robbery have in complete failure.”

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