DUP DELEGATION MEETS POLICE CHIEF OVER GUNFIRE AT DISSIDENT REPUBLICAN EVENT

Dissident republican gunman fires shot into the air in Ardoyne on Saturday

Dissident republican gunman fires shot into the air in Ardoyne on Saturday

A DUP delegation has held talks with a senior PSNI chief after a dissident republican gunman fired shots at the weekend in north Belfast.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, MLAs Nelson McCausland  and William Humphrey MLA met PSNI District Commander Chief Superintendent George Clarke on Monday afternoon regarding events in North Belfast including gunfire at a dissident republican parade in Ardoyne on Saturday.

Detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch are investigating an internet video of a dissident republican gunman firing shots into the air.

The video, entitled Ardoyne Fianna 2013, was posted on YouTube at the weekend.

It shows a member of dissident faction Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) dressed in paramilitary combat clothing with his arms raised and pointing a handgun into the air.

There were reports of a number of shots being fired in the area at the time.

At the same time a band is in the background waiting to march and play.

Police said they are currently looking into reports of the inicident. The video will also be studied

In a joint statement following the meeting, held at Antrim Road PSNI Station, the DUP representatives said:

“The firing of shots at a dissident republican event in Ardoyne on Saturday has caused great alarm and outrage.

“In the context of several serious shootings in the Ardoyne area over the past year, this is clearly an attempt to intimidate, exert control and to undermine law and order.

“We requested this meeting with the District Commander as a matter of urgency to ask serious questions regarding this event.

“The PSNI had viewed this event as internal to Ardoyne and did not have a police presence within the area. This enabled the appearance of a masked gunman who fired around eight shots in broad daylight.

“We pressed that the police must pursue this matter rigorously with the joint organisers of the event, the Republican Network for Unity and the Henry Joy McCracken Republican Flute Band.

“These groups have previously been permitted to hold parades in interface areas of North Belfast. Following this gunfire, that must not be permitted again.

“We will also be pursuing the presence of young children in paramilitary-style clothing at this event with Social Services and the Children’s Commissioner.

“We also raised with the District Commander the policing at Twaddell Avenue on Monday morning when local residents who attended the passing of Ligoniel Walker Club and accompanying band were prevented from following the parade onto Woodvale Road as some have always been able to do.

“This strict interpretation of the Parades Commission ruling led to a confrontation in which a woman was allegedly restrained around the neck and pulled out of the parade.

“This could have escalated into serious disorder. We remain dissatisfied with the police explanation of this operation and we will be pursuing this matter further in a meeting with the Parades Commission.”

A security alert was sparked before the parade after a suspicious object was found.

At first police said it was a viable device but later withdrew this statement.

The object was taken away by Army technical officers for examination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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