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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 09:11 GMT

UK: Northern Ireland

Call to end cross-border police links

Police are investigating the activities of loyalist dissidents

Sinn Fein has called on the Irish government to instruct its police force not to co-operate with the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland.

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The move followed a meeting of the party's Ard Comhairle (ruling council), when the discovery of security force files in an Orange Hall was discussed.

Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle member Joe O'Reilly called on Irish Justice Minister John O'Donoghue to halt the flow of information from the Garda Siochana to the RUC and other British intelligence services.

The party has already demanded a meeting with Northern Ireland Security Minister Adam Ingram following the discovery of up to 300 files on prominent republicans in Stoneyford Orange Hall in County Antrim.

People whose details were contained in the files are now being warned by police that their lives may be threatened by loyalist paramilitary dissidents.

The Orange Order in County Antrim has expressed shock that military documents were found in Stoneyford Orange Hall.

[ image: The RUC works closely with the Garda]
The RUC works closely with the Garda
The secretary of the County Antrim Grand Orange Lodge, William Leatham, said the lodge members did not know how the documents came to be there.

He said: "We would utterly condemn any actions that have been taking place. The hall is in a rural area and is used by the community and other groups outside the organisation of Orangeism.

"The lodge is investigating the possibility of how and when this could have happened. Certainly the lodge members are shocked and horrified that this has happened."

Six men were arrested after the files were seized on Wednesday and are still being questioned.

They contained photographs, addresses, telephone numbers and other personal details of republicans from south Armagh and the greater Belfast areas.

BBC NI's Seamus McKee talks to William Leatham
The documents were believed to have been in the possession of senior members of the Orange Volunteer Force, a breakaway paramilitary group linked to a string of sectarian pipe bomb attacks on Catholic families.

The arrests were part of a developing and province-wide investigation into the activities of the loyalist dissidents opposed to the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement peace accord.

Another loyalist group under investigation is the Red Hand Defenders.

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