Northern Ireland news

IRSP warn police 'playing with fire' after series of house raids on members

Officers were pictured carrying out an operation at the home of IRSP spokesman Sean Carlin in west Belfast
Connla Young

TH Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) has claimed police are "playing with fire” after a series of house raids and stop and search operations against members.

Nationalists and unionists condemned the comments last night, which came after officers were pictured carrying out a raid at the home of former republican prisoner Sean Carlin in west Belfast yesterday morning.

In a hard-hitting statement, the IRSP’s Lower Falls representative Michael Kelly claimed that “British security forces risk bringing serious conflict onto the streets”.

The IRSP is the political wing of the INLA, which formally ended its armed campaign in 2009.

Mr Kelly said that if the targeting of members represents a shift in policy “then the party fears that the political landscape may be facing a crisis unprecedented in decades”.

“The Irish Republican Socialist Party has been in existence for over 40 years, in that time we have never tolerated attacks on our membership from any quarter,” he said.

“This remains our principled position today. The British state and the PSNI are playing with fire.”

SDLP justice spokesman Alex Attwood criticised the comments last night.

“Anybody and any group that, explicitly or implicitly, threatens violence represents nobody but the smallest numbers,” he said.

He added that “anybody with any issue or complaint should refer it to the Police Ombudsman and to the Policing Board”.

Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Doug Beattie said: “Most reasonable people will see a veiled threat in the IRSP statement and there is no place in society for those who make any form of threats to the police, even veiled ones."

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