Call for police to probe Ardoyne republican’s ‘armed struggle’ comments

The comments were made by Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective spokesman Dee Fennell
The comments were made by Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective spokesman Dee Fennell

An Ardoyne republican’s endorsement of “armed struggle” against a “foreign” government in Northern Ireland could be investigated by the PSNI.

The comments were made by Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective spokesman Dee Fennell at an Easter commemoration event in Lurgan - with a video of the cemetery speech later posted on the internet.

As well as attacking Sinn Fein, the anti-Orange parades campaigner said “armed struggle must be a contributory factor to a wider struggle” and that it remains a “legitimate act” in 2015.

The event was organised by the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association.

Addressing a small crowd that included children of primary school age, he went on to say: “We are occupied by a foreign government, a foreign army and her agencies. The use of armed struggle to oppose this is our right.”

Quoting senior Sinn Fein figure Maire Drumm, who was murdered by loyalists in 1976, Fennell added: “It isn’t enough to shout ‘up the IRA’, the important thing is to join the IRA. As you leave here today, ask yourself is it enough to support republicanism or could you be a more active republican?”

Referring to the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten in 1979, he said: “The only welcome the IRA ever gave a member of the British Royal family was delivered on a boat off the coast of Sligo.”

The remarks have angered the DUP’s Upper Bann Westminster candidate David Simpson, who has called for the PSNI to investigate.

Mr Simpson said: “The video of Fennell’s speech has been posted online therefore I assume the PSNI has already considered its content.

“However, if it hasn’t been investigated, I have written to the chief constable and asked that these inflammatory statements be investigated.

“Fennell can be heard, in the presence of children, calling for people to join the IRA.”

Mr Simpson added: “The use of arms by anyone was never legitimate.

“The encouragement of anyone to become part of a terrorist organisation demands action by the PSNI.”