A PSNI student officer recruitment information evening aimed at the LGBT+ community went ahead in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre, Newry on Friday evening despite a letter of protest handed in to the Arts Centre earlier in the day by representatives of Saoradh, stating the groups opposition to the event.

The event was organised by The Rainbow Project in partnership with Newry Rainbow Community and allowed visitors to find out more about the PSNI recruitment process as well as hear from serving LGBT+ police officers.

The letter claimed "PSNI links with MI5, house raids, stop and searches, child abuse and the more recent tactic of the Crown Forces using Social Services as a tool of oppression." as reasons Sarodh opposed the event.

A poster placed on the window of the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
A poster placed on the window of the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

In a statement issued by Saoradh they stated "One of our local party activists, who is part of the LGBTQ community, was among those who delivered the letter of protest on behalf of Saoradh which outlines the anger and opposition from victims of state oppression within the Republican community."

A poster was also placed on a grill window of the centre by a member of the group.

Commenting Saoradh's Newry representative Stephen Murney said "As a result of Saoradh handing in this letter the recruitment event was surrounded by, what can only be described as a ring of steel. Numerous armoured cars and Land rovers were positioned in nearby streets, with some circling the venue, whilst a large number of armed Crown force personnel lurked on street corners around the venue.

"The simple sound of dissenting voices was enough to force the overzealous gestapo into overdrive.

Stephen added" If joining the RUC/PSNI was an acceptable and "normal" career choice, on par with genuine emergency services such as the Fire and Ambulance service, then none of the above "security measures" would have been put in place and it would have proceeded unopposed.

"The fact the Crown Forces had to resort to such measures is a victory for republicans. The RUC/PSNI have in fact assisted in dispelling the myth that they are accepted and welcome in Newry."



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