Northern Ireland news

IRSP raise concerns over PSNI involvement in Féile

IRSP members Aisling McLaughlin, Michael Kelly and Gerard Foster prepare hand over a letter of protest to the organisers of Féile an Phobail
Connla Young

THE Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) has handed over a letter to the organisers of Féile an Phobail objecting to the attendance of the PSNI at festival events.

It comes after the director of the festival described leaflets distributed in parts of west Belfast as being designed to “intimidate”.

The leaflets were circulated in the Beechmount area by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) in recent weeks.

It has raised concerns about PSNI participation in festival events.

Now members of the IRSP, which had no involvement with the IRPWA leaflets, say they are also opposed to police involvement.

The letter claims the PSNI is "openly directed by MI5", adding: “Hundreds of legitimate political activists from west Belfast receive intense scrutiny in this regard; being spied on, monitored and targeted for imprisonment using various draconian powers.”

The group said it is willing to meet festival organisers.

“With a view to easing increasing public tensions, the IRSP respectfully asks the organisers of Féile an Phobail to ensure that the PSNI are not facilitated in their stated objectives in exploiting the people's festival for reasons of self-promotion.

A spokeswoman for Féile an Phobail said: “We have received a letter from the IRSP and we are happy to talk to anyone who approaches us with concerns.”

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