Following the arrest of fourteen men after a paramilitary style funeral in Strabane Superintendent Mark McEwan of the PSNI said their response was ‘appropriate and proportionate.’
They were arrested after a police operation following the funeral of Michael Barr in Strabane who was shot dead in Dublin on April 25.
Speaking at a press conference in Strand Road police station this afternoon Superintendent McEwan said there had been ‘a public commentary’ indicating that Michael Barr was connected to what he described as ‘a violent republican dissident group the New IRA.’
He said the police carried out an operation in line with that and following’ a paramilitary style display’ 15 men were arrested for terrorist related offences.
Defending the operation the Superintendent said that the police would act where they suspected ‘criminal activity.’
He said that sometimes police gathered evidence to be used later and other times they acted.
He said: “Every police operation has to be sensitive to the community.”
Denying that today;s operation was in response to political pressure Superintendent McEwan said: “We don’t respond to political pressure but we are cognizant of it just as we are cognizant of the feelings of the wider community.”
It is believed that the six of the men arrested are from the Derry area, five from Tyrone and three from Dublin.
They are being held in Musgrave Street in Belfast for questioning.
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