'heavy harassment' | 

Republican party claim MI5 'spooks' are trying to sabotage election campaign

"No other political party has had to deal with what we have"

IRSP West Belfast candidate Dan Murphy speaks to the Sunday World. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Paula Mackin

The Irish Republican Social Party (IRSP) is claiming their election campaign is being sabotaged by 'British spooks'.

The party said MI5 was behind a campaign of harassment and disruption aimed at derailing their campaign.

Dan Murphy (30), the IRSP's only candidate, says he and his election campaign officers have been continuously harassed by members of the PSNI.

"It's been heavy harassment, to the point where we have scheduled a meeting with the Police Ombudsman," he said.

The party, which is seen to have close ties with paramilitary group the INLA, said it was now wedded to the political process.

"No other political party has had to deal with what we have," he said.

"The stops, the searches, it's constant."

He said they were running a campaign on limited resources and the only election vehicle they have on the road is constantly stopped.

"Everywhere we go we're stopped. It's orchestrated. I believe MI5 is behind it. Not only that, locally it is orchestrated, posters have been taken down in Poleglass, Springfield Road."

He also pointed to a police investigation into the appearance of a paramilitary-style colour party during commemorative parades at Easter as further evidence of the party being singled out.

"We have had a colour party for years and years it's not new. It has not been ramped up but all of a sudden when we go to election it's ramped up 110 per cent.

"As I said, the only van we have for our election was stopped four times in two days. What's behind that? But I believe it is higher up than the PSNI.

"This is an MI5-led police force, but as time goes on the more our confidence grows, we have massively high hopes that we will take a seat in West Belfast."

And he denied that the party had any links to violence.

"The INLA put their guns down in 2009. It will always stick and people will use it as a stick to beat us with but now, the IRSP, we are legit. We have signed up to the democratic process but how we are treated is not good.

"People don't treat us as legit, and that sends a message around the board that dissident groups and organisations don't have a legitimate view.

"I have spoken to people and they think - why engage in a democratic process because this is what you have to deal with?"

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