You really do wonder what the police were thinking yesterday when they blundered their way into a private commemoration of the 29th anniversary of 1992 Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity. As well as disturbing the event they decided to go even further and arrest one of the victims. Such gross insensitivity you could not make up.
Coming just days after the police stood idle and watched dozens of UVF men parading in East Belfast, the police have opened themselves up to charges of extreme hypocrisy. Mix in the allegations of collusion in the original attack and you have the perfect PR disaster for the PSNI.
#OrmeauRoad today. The PSNI treatment of relatives who were laying flowers in remembrance of their loved ones murdered at Seán Graham bookies in 1992. This is truly upsetting for these families and the community. pic.twitter.com/rBYco7WsfQ
— Seán Napier (@Seanofthesouth) February 5, 2021
Mark Sykes is released – his solicitor Niall Murphy speaks pic.twitter.com/DCF5CZyGmo
— Relatives 4 Justice #NeverGivingUp (@RelsForJustice) February 5, 2021
The situation probably just escalated but questions must be asked of the officer’s behaviour and lack of common sense. Once they knew what was happening the sensible course of action was to walk away. I have seen several times during lockdown police hassling people for very spurious reasons. The other week I saw the police questioning pensioners out for a walk at Shaws Bridge, the perception is there that they only pick on the easy targets.
Policing in Northern Ireland is a difficult and thankless task at the best of times. Simon Byrne seems a nice enough fellow but you get the feeling he is in over his head. You need an iron will to be Chief Constable. It looks like we are coming into a period of instability when policing will be in the firing line of all sides. More than ever we need strong leadership from all sides to stop events spiralling out of control.
Photo: Keresaspa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
I help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not that interested in daily politics, preferring to write about big ideas in society. When not stuck in front of a screen, I am a parkrun Run Director.