The appearance of posters in Co Tyrone carrying Continuity IRA warnings to police have been condemned by local councillors as “sinister” and not representative of the community.
Featuring silhouettes of two gunmen with the words ‘CIRA, PSNI beware,’ the posters have been erected in the Mullaghmore area of Omagh.
Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth said he believed the threatening imagery is linked to a dissident republican statement issued to the Ulster Herald newspaper earlier this month.
“We had an unnamed group who were going to ‘clean up the streets’ and ‘execute drug dealers,’ and I think the two are related,” he said.
“It’s this idea that these groups will become the authority in the area. ‘This is not for the police – we are going to take care of drug dealers.’ That is a dangerous route to go down. I don’t want to live in a society where men with shotguns and balaclavas rule the streets.”
Cllr Smyth added: “It’s very much this sinister idea of trying to assert control. There is a small nucleus of support [for the dissidents] but it is not representative of the wider community.”
Independent councillor Joanne Donnelly said: “Residents in that area wouldn’t be too happy with those posters going up. Mullaghmore is a well established area in Omagh and Tullyclogher and there have been families that have been there for a very long time.”
Cllr Donnelly said she believed that community opposition to dissidents would lead to the posters being taken down, and added: “It would be a very small minority that’s doing it. That’s not something that anybody wants to go back to.”
Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) chairman Councillor John Coyle also hit out at those responsible.
“I condemn those kind of posters. It is not for this society,” he said.
Cllr Coyle added: “The PCSP in Fermanagh/Omagh is giving confidence to the local community, and that if they need them are able to call them and get things sorted.
“It is not acceptable in this day and age. I will see what the police are doing about it.”