Dissident republican groups bent on creating friction and curtailing free speech is a “form of fascism”, a Derry-based priest has said.
Fr Joe Gormley of Creggan parish told this newspaper that attempts to stop the police from talking to young people about critical issues shows the “fascist element” of dissident republicanism.
His comments after the cancellation of a policing event at a Derry youth club last week due to Republican protests. Officers had planned to discuss the topic of stop and search powers at the city’s Guildhall, but the talk was cancelled after fringe group Saoradh promised to demonstrate because of the PSNI’s involvement.
“People have opinions about stop and search and they’re entitled to have those opinions but nobody should be prevented from having dialogue with the police if they want to have dialogue with the police,” Fr Gormley said, pointing out that the group wants to create division.
“All of these groups have their own agenda. Their agenda is not about peace. Their agenda is their agenda – and they want to tell everybody else who they can talk to, who they can’t, how to think, everybody has to think the same way they think,” Fr Gormley said.
“So, young people aren’t allowed to speak to police officers. Young people aren’t allowed to have thoughts of their own. We all must think the same way they think, and if we don’t there’s something wrong with it- and that’s just basically the attitude.”