EXCLUSIVE VETERAN PROVO BRENDAN McLAUGHLIN'S MOLESTATION ARREST
REPUBLICANS IN SHOCK AS KESH HUNGER STRIKER IN KID SEX COP PROBE 'Assault' on five young girls
September 6, 2009 (Page 18)
SUNDAY WORLD BY EVAN MURRAY
NEWS of the arrest of former IRA hunger striker Brendan McLaughlin, pictured left, in connection with alleged indecent assault on young girls has sent shockwaves throughout the Republican community.
The 58-year-old Derry man is being investigated for the sexual assault of up to five
girls from the age of 12 to 15. The PSNI has confirmed to the Sunday World that a man has been arrested, interviewed and released pending further investigation.
The Sunday World can also exclusively reveal that some of the victims are so traumatised by their ordeal they are reluctant to make a statement.
Officers are investigating claims that McLaughlin who defected to Republican Sinn Fein, bribed his victims with money, alcohol and cigarettes.
McLaughlin is one of the most respected living Republicans and his arrest is a devastating blow to his many friends and fellow political activists.
A police source has also exclusively revealed to the Sunday World that McLaughlin has also received a death threat believed to be from the INLA. In recent years he has been an outspoken critic of Sinn Fein and has joined the ranks of Republican Sinn Fein.
His hard line beliefs were laid bare in an exclusive interview with a reporter from this paper a number of months ago. He described Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness as "traitors" and called for a return to war.
"They're all sitting around laughing in Stormont, when there's still a war to fight," he said.
"Bring the war over there I say, hit the Brits on their own soil".
McLauglin is a close associate of controversial publicity officer for Republican Sinn Fein Richard Walsh.' The twenty-six year old is a frequent visitor to McLauglin's home and recently caused huge controversy by refusing to condemn the murders of two soldiers shot dead at the Massereene barracks describing the deaths a regrettable but inevitable "acts of war".
Mr Walsh responded to the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness's description of those behind the killings as "traitors to the people of Ireland "
He said Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams had been guilty of "severe treachery" and the Provisional IRA were now unionists.
"We (RSF) have always upheld the rights to the Irish people to use any level of controlled and disciplined force to drive the British out of Ireland. We make no apology for that," he said.
The group has limited support in Northern Ireland and McLaughlin is widely believed to be the most high profile of only a handful of members from Derry. The news of his arrest is a blow to the ailing party who have celebrated his IRA past on many occasions.
He was chosen by the party to stand in the local elections for mid-Ulster in 2007. Their election manifesto on their website describes in glowing terms McLauglin's past.
"Brendan McLauglin was born in 1951 to John and Katheen, at the Bolie near Greysteel in Co. Derry. He comes from a Republican family, and has two brothers and a sister. Brendan joined the Republican Movement in 1969.
"He was arrested and held a number of times and had his house raided:
From August 1972 Brendan went on the run. His mother died on Christmas Eve of 1973. However Brendan was unable to attend the funeral due to the presence of the British Crown Forces.
"In May of 1976 the British Crown Forces finally caught up with Brendan outside Greysteel. He was arrested along with his brother Michael. After nine months on remand in Crumlin Road he was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for possession of a .22 rifle.
Brendan was initially housed in H2 upon his transfer to Long Kesh - where he immediately went on the Blanket protest. He was subsequently assaulted by the screws.
"Within a couple of months Brendan was transferred to H5, where he was III an adjoining cell to that of Joe McDonnell (who died taking part in the
In May of 1981 Brendan replaced Francis Hughes on hunger strike.
"Roughly a week later he suffered a stomach ulcer and was removed to the prison hospital where Patsy O'Hara and Ray McCreesh lay dying.
Brendan was subsequently removed to the military wing of Musgrave Park hospital in Belfast. He was forced to come off hunger strike after fourteen days, having been given just 24-hours to live.
After a number of months under armed guard, Brendan was returned to the H-Blocks after the conclusion of the hunger strike.
"Brendan never took a visit whilst in Long Kesh. He was released on the 5th November, 1984, having served eight-and-a-half years owing to lost remission.
"In April of 1999 Brendan suffered a stroke, and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since".
McLaughlin is divorced for over ten years and has two sons. His family are said to be devastated by the allegations.
Despite many efforts bythe Sunday World to contact Republican Sinn Fein they have refused to make a statement.
An email sent in error from an office worker to Richard Walsh is the only acknowledgement of our repeated attempts
"Richard, This came in this morning. Naturally I did not answer him!! I wouldn't make a comment to them to save my life!"