REPLY TO MEMBER OF WESTMINSTER PARLIAMENT PAUL MASKEY.

On 15/02/17 Paul Maskey gave a quote to the Andersonstown News insinuating that Republican Network for Unity were behind threats to taxi drivers in the West Belfast area.

RNU call on Mr. Maskey to provide evidence that we were involved in threats and intimidation to black taxi drivers or withdraw the comment post-haste. Republican Network for Unity, after receiving many complaints from members of the public and black taxi drivers, used the medium of social media to highlight the West Belfast Taxi Association’s decision to advertise the discredited PSNI. The result of which was a public outcry against attempts to integrate the PSNI into our communities while they continue to use draconian stop & search legislation, raid the family homes of hard-working community activists and attempt to coerce children into becoming informers. The public outcry extended to West Belfast citizens refusing to use the black taxi that was employed in the experiment. It was the West Belfast community that persisted and ensured the decision was reversed.

Mr. Maskey’s poor attempt to criminalise legitimate protest and freedom of expression stretches back to November 2014 when RNU publicly embarrassed him after his deceitful denial of the implementation of water meters in West Belfast. Past grudges should not cloud reality or justify an attempt to impede on freedom of expression. Expressing an alternative analysis and using the arena of social media to communicate that with the public does not constitute intimidation or threat.

Republican Network for Unity will continue to support the people of West Belfast in exercising their right to freedom of expression under article 10, regardless of which State politician attempts to hinder this.