Republicans walk out of Bellaghy drugs meeting over presence of police officer

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The presence of a PSNI officer at a community meeting in Bellaghy sparked a walk out by around a dozen members of the Irish Republican Socalist Party (IRSP), the Mail understands.

The meeting in The Old School Centre was organised by a group of local residents with the aim of addressing the drugs issue in the south Derry village.

It was attended by Sinn Féin councillors, members of the Mid Ulster TIPSA group, and the parish priest Fr Andrew Dolan.

The walk out apparently happened after the plain clothes police officer identified himself and told those attending that a multi-agency approach to the drugs problem worked best.

In a statement, the IRSP said they had no option but to leave the meeting.

They stated that, in their opinion, the presence of a PSNI officer would be detrimental to the building of the grass roots peoples’ initiative that they had come to build.

They pointed out that the family members of drug users would have been reluctant to speak in the officer’s presence.