04 November 2005

Detectives still question leading Tyrone republican

Belfast Telegraph

39 bags of property taken away

By Jonathan McCambridge and Michael McHugh
04 November 2005

Police were last night still questioning a leading Tyrone republican - one of four suspects still in custody over the Northern Bank robbery.

Police raided the Dungannon home of Brian Arthurs (40), a Sinn Fein member, early yesterday morning. A 43-year-old suspect was also detained in Coalisland.

Brian Arthurs was previously named in court as a former commanding officer of the East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA. He was also an IRA commander in the Maze prison.

His brother Declan was shot dead by soldiers along with other seven other IRA men as they prepared to bomb Loughgall police station in 1987.

Officers seized a car and dozens of bags containing cash, cheque books, clothes and computer equipment from his house.

His wife Paula told the Belfast Telegraph: "They took 39 bags of stuff, documents and every scrap of paper in the house, including receipts as well as clothes, the computer and a car.

"I can't understand why they can't leave us alone. My children deserve a better life, it has to stop.

"Republicans have given everything and still we get this kind of abuse."

Sinn Fein representatives immediately complained about "heavy-handed" and "political" policing over the latest arrests, mirroring a storm over raids yesterday in Kilcoo, Co Down.

MP Michelle Gildernew said: "They have been heavy-handed. This is not the behaviour of an accountable police force. It is disgraceful."

After a 10-month probe into the Northern Bank robbery, police made made a series of arrests in a 36-hour operation.

Police believe up to 30 men planned the robbery just before Christmas, which involved taking two bank employees' families hostage.

Cash seized in Co Cork last February was linked to the raid, but virtually all of the missing millions has not been recovered.

A month later the Northern was forced to replace all its £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different logo.

Although the Provisionals have always denied carrying out the raid, detectives believe senior IRA men were involved.

"Republicans have given everything and still we get this kind of abuse."

" ...given everything.." ?

No , not yet . Those 'republicans' have still to 'give' their backs to the wearing of the RUC/PSNI uniform . Then their paymasters in Westminster might be more inclined to leave them alone ...

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