Martin Og Meehan: I was set up on loyalist collusion claims

Martin Og Meehan was expelled by both GARC and RNU last week
Martin Og Meehan was expelled by both GARC and RNU last week

Senior republican Martin Og Meehan, who has dramatically been expelled from two groups in Ardoyne, has told of his “anger” after claims were made he has colluded with loyalists.

Both the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) and the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said on Friday night that Mr Meehan had been expelled for sending messages on social media to a loyalist about Ardoyne community worker Dee Fennell.

The statement claimed Mr Meehan had been attempting to encourage loyalists to smear the GARC chairperson.

An online statement from GARC, which has since been taken down, accused the former republican prisoner of being found “guilty of collaborating and colluding with loyalists”.

GARC is a group set up to oppose Orange Order marches going past the Ardoyne shopfronts. The group was initially set up by Mr Meehan.

Last night father-of-two Mr Meehan said the situation could have arose after he was “involved with a couple of Protestant boys on Twitter about Celtic and different things”.

He told the News Letter that “there were no private messages sent and I believe these private messages which apparently said that Dee Fennell should be taken down a peg or two, well they can be easy manipulated as well you know”.

Mr Meehan said on January 24 “they (GARC) came to my house demanding to see my laptop and I said no because it was my home and it wasn’t even my computer it was my son’s”.

Mr Meehan said he had left GARC in November and could not be expelled from the organisation.

He said he then contacted Republican Network for Unity – where he had been national secretary – to tell them what had happened.

“They said they would investigate it which they did and took the laptop and it came back inconclusive, no evidence,” said Mr Meehan.

“Then I was dismissed on Thursday.”

Mr Meehan who has left Ardoyne in the wake of the controversy, claims that “the DMs (direct messages) were manipulated. I honestly don’t know by who, could be spooks or anyone”.

He said his family “are very deeply annoyed and we are out of Ardoyne at the minute”.

“I think there is something else going on, I believe the stuff was manipulated and I think there is a bigger picture to all of this.

“Why produce all that against me and make me a scapegoat?”