Féile team brand flyer posted through doors as an attempt to intimidate

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams with some of the festival team in Belfast. Picture by Féile en Phobail.
Amanda Ferguson

THE director of Féile an Phobail has called on a group distributing leaflets claiming its staff are "promoting the PSNI" to meet with its committee.

Kevin Gamble said the community arts festival team was shocked and angered to learn the Irish Republican Prisoner Welfare Association (IRPWA) had posted an unsigned 'community notice' through letterboxes in the Beechmount area on Monday attacking Féile staff and its management committee.

The flyer suggests they are "British paid workers" pursuing a "pro-British PSNI endorsement strategy".

It also describes as "unnecessary" PSNI attendance at events run by Féile and refers to police as "armed militia whose main objective is to protect the illegal British presence in Ireland".

The IRPWA website indicates it is not aligned to any political party and describes itself as "an all Ireland body set up to look after the welfare of Republican Prisoners" in Maghaberry, Hydebank and Portlaoise jails.

Mr Gamble said that the flyer was an attempt to "intimidate" but staff would not be deterred from finalising preparations for the festival which runs from August 3 to 14.

"Out staff and board members see it an an attempt to intimidate and as something anti-community," he said.

"They all work and live in west Belfast and work on a daily basis to do positive work and to learn their names have been put through letter boxes by a nameless group.

"They weren't putting their own names to the letter so we don't know who they are dealing with.

"We are calling on them to speak to Féile or use Féile to get their message out.

"Our door is open if they want to come and meet with the Féile committee about the leaflet or anything in general around the Féile programme."

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