The PSNI in Craigavon has responded with a strongly-worded message on social media – hitting out at those responsible for the trouble in Lurgan over Easter.
Two 15-year-old boys were arrested but the PSNI have hit out at “the Dissident Dans who were driving around between these young lads on Monday, directing the trouble, encouraging them to do this and ultimately getting them arrested”.
There were a series of incidents in the north Armagh town on Easter Monday, beginning with petrol bombs being thrown at officers in the Lake Street area before trouble erupted in the Kilwilkie estate later that afternoon.
The statement was released on their Facebook page this evening. In full, it read: “On Monday 2 young lads saw the inside of a custody cell for the first time. They are both 15. They were both been arrested for some of the most serious public order offences. Both were charged, and one was in court yesterday. But they are also both fall guys.
“On Sunday and Monday we had 2 very peaceful and well organised parades through Lurgan. Aside from the odd bottle of drink, everyone behaved impeccably. The rioting afterwards however put a sour tone on the whole thing. To those involved- let that be the end of it. Don’t get involved further. It’s one thing standing in the middle of the road with your hood up shouting at us. It’s a different matter throwing bottles, and it’s a very different thing to pick up a petrol bomb or a gun and fire it at those who are just trying to keep you safe.
“As those 2 lads found out, custody cells are miserable places and are far from home, family and friends. It’s not a badge of honour, a tick off the bucket list, or anything else even remotely worth striving for. It can ruin your life. It will massively effect your job prospects, bar you from travelling to some countries, and in some circumstances will hang over you for life.
“Lads especially- if someone asks you to pick something up to fire at us, or to make a phone call to lure us into the area; don’t do it. If they hand you a petrol bomb, or tell you to set fire to something, don’t even touch it. They don’t care about you. The fact that they aren’t doing it themselves show them for the cowards they are. They don’t want to make you a ‘hero’, an ‘activist’, or a ‘volunteer for the cause’. They don’t want you to ‘Have a bit of craic’ either. They want to make you their fall guy by doing their dirty work. If that happens, you’ll wind up in a cell. If you’re approached by them, you can talk to us in complete confidentiality. You don’t even need to come into the station, and you certainly don’t need to make a statement. Call 101 and ask to speak to someone. Unlike those cowards who would have you do their dirty work, we are here 24/7, for you. The vast majority of those around you; your family, friends and neighbours do not want this. They want to move on and live their lives. Be a part of building that, not working against it.
“To the Dissident Dans who were driving around between these young lads on Monday, directing the trouble, encouraging them to do this and ultimately getting them arrested, you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re pathetic. Your low life response when we made the arrests shows you for what you are too. Kicking female officers in the head when they’re on the ground? Big men indeed! Who exactly in your community do you think you represent in doing that? We already know who some of you are, and we will be coming for you. That might be today, or tomorrow, or next week, but it will happen. Sleep well.”