Legal action has been initiated after the RUC/PSNI have been involved in misusing social media accounts in order to target Republicans. The “Police Ombudsman” has also launched an investigation into the matter.
This action follows a string of immature and inappropriate posts by “Sgt KG” directed at Saoradh and their Newry representative Stephen Murney.
Commenting on the development Saoradh An Iúir chairperson Anthony Coyle said “Several posts appeared on the “PSNI Newry & Mourne” Facebook and Twitter pages over the course of several months posted by the on-duty Crown Force member.
“These posts targeted party statements Saoradh issued detailing legitimate political activism our members were involved in when helping our communities, including an anti-burglary campaign Saoradh initiated in the Derrybeg area.
“The Crown Force mercenary even went as far as posting screenshots of our local representative, Stephen Murney, along with his name and photo, on their page and went on to label both the activist and Saoradh as “self appointed thugs”.
“In another post they accused Saoradh of “scamming” people after we offered advice to the local community in order to tackle a spate of burglaries and also insinuated that the party are involved in illegal activity.
“These are just two of at least seventeen posts the RUC have published targeting Saoradh and our Newry activists.”
Anthony added “It is clear that the actions by the RUC/PSNI member in question were deliberately discriminatory of Stephen’s, and Saoradh’s, political opinion, and such public statements by an on duty RUC/PSNI member are a direct attempt to infringe the right to freedom of political expression.
“Here we have a situation where members of the Crown Forces are inappropriately using these online accounts as if they were their own personal pages.
“They are using these accounts to attack a political party, party statements and party activists.”
In conclusion Coyle said “Stephen has met with his legal representatives, human rights lawyers based at Phoenix Law, and legal proceedings have now begun.”
Stephen’s legal representative, Darragh Mackin, from Phoenix Law stated “It isn’t, and can never be, acceptable for the PSNI to use social media as a tool to attack and defame individuals and their political Beliefs. Such attacks are a fundamental attack on our clients right to freedom of expression and as such we have made a complaint with the police ombudsman and have initiated legal action.”