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Local MLA gets Brexit safety alert

Cultœrlann McAdam î Fiaich, Nollaig î Gadhra Book launch, 'Cuimhn’ Cairde'. pictured: M‡irt’n î Muilleoir MLA 2110JC17 Cultœrlann McAdam î Fiaich, Nollaig î Gadhra Book launch, 'Cuimhn’ Cairde'. pictured: M‡irt’n î Muilleoir MLA 2110JC17
By Staff Reporter

POLICE have delivered an extraordinary advice list to the West Belfast home of a Sinn Féin MLA suggesting ways in which he can improve his and his family’s personal security post-Brexit.

The document has already been delivered to the homes of all 650 MPs across the United Kingdom, but officers who called to the home of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said they are widening distribution of the document to take in Brexit spokespersons of parties in the north.

The leaflet – headlined ‘When It Goes Too Far’ – outlines steps that politicians should take if they are targeted by extremists in any wave of public unrest that may break out post-October 31, the latest deadline for the UK leaving the EU.

The document – which Mr Ó Muilleoir yesterday branded “Brexit bollox – has been compiled by a number of UK agencies: the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Crown Prosecution Service, the College of Policing and the Electoral Commission.

Despite its wide experience in dealing with public unrest, the PSNI has not been involved in drawing up the guidelines. But local police officers have been tasked with distributing it to MLAs closely connected to the Brexit issue.

To the fore in the security advice is what Mr Ó Muilleoir and his family should do in the event of being targeted with a hazardous substance. Police advice is to:
• Leave the house and seek fresh air.
• Treat itchy or painful skin with water.
• Remove outer clothing – but not by pulling it over the head.
• Remove any substance that may contact clothing or skin by using a dry absorbent material or brushing it off.

Advice is also included on what signs may signal the presence of hazardous substances in the home.
The leaflet also advises politicians not to engage with individuals who may be “stalking/harassing” them, either online or offline. It urges them to seek further advice on personal safety and building security from their local police force and to conduct a review of what personal information about them is available online.

The leaflet explains that the advice is being forwarded for politicians to consult if they are subjected post-Brexit to “unacceptable levels of harassment and intimidation”. It continues: “In some cases, these behaviours and actions have reached the criminal threshold. The worst examples have led to violence and injury.”

The most serious example of Brexit-inspired violence was the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016 in West Yorkshire by a gun- and knife-wielding man holding extreme pro-Britain views. Mr Ó Muilleor said: “It seems preposterous to me that the PSNI is promoting Brexit security advice compiled at the behest of a UK government which for three years has shown itself so thoroughly inept in its handling of the issue. There’s little in this that isn’t already known to most people and no reason why it couldn’t have been emailed to me rather than dispatching a police patrol. There are Catholic families in my South Belfast constituency living under the jackboot of the UVF and the flegger bully-boys. The PSNI would be better advised to protect those folk rather than wasting their time and my time with this Brexit bollox.”

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