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Plastic Bullet Use Must Carry Consequences

06/07/10

Plastic bullets muraléirígí general secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith has called on the Dublin government to seriously reflect upon its intention to invite Elizabeth Windsor to the Twenty-Six Counties following the firing of plastic bullets by the PSNI at the weekend.

A number of people were injured, including two teenage boys, when the PSNI opened fire with plastic bullets in west Belfast on Saturday night. At least two of those shot were hospitalised as a result of their injuries, while the relatives of those killed by plastic bullets have reacted angrily to the continued use of the lethal weapon.

Jim McCabe, whose wife Nora was killed by a plastic bullet in 1981, said: “Again and again, we have been assured by [PSNI] chief and assistant chief constables and [British] secretaries of state that plastic bullets will not be used in riot or civic disturbance situations.

“But, yet again, we see that, as soon as a disturbance emerges, they are the PSNI’s weapon of first resort, just as they were last year in Ardoyne.”

Mac Cionnaith said: “The continued firing of plastic bullets by the PSNI, years after it was claimed they had become a civic police service, is evidence of the totally unacceptable nature of the force.

“Plastic bullets are a lethal weapon – 17 people have died as a direct result of their use in the Six Counties – and they should be banned immediately.

“From Ardoyne in July last year, the Short Strand and Craigavon earlier this year and, now, west Belfast, it is obvious that the PSNI continues to use plastic bullets as a habitual tool in its repression of nationalist communities.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The Twenty-Six County government should now reconsider its ridiculous announcement that Elizabeth Windsor will be invited on a state visit.

“The PSNI is a British paramilitary police force in Ireland, as head of the British state, Elizabeth Windsor is the figurehead for all actions conducted in the name of that state, including the firing of plastic bullets at Irish children.

“If the Dublin establishment proceeds with its plan in light of recent developments, they will have declared yet again that, in their eyes, the nationalist communities of the North are, at best, an irrelevance and, at worst, an irritant.”

Mac Cionnaith concluded: “éirígí wholeheartedly supports the call from the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets and the families of plastic bullet victims for the immediate withdrawal of this weapon from use.”

 

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