Human rights campaigner Brenda Downes yesterday [Thursday] released the following statement in relation to an emergency anti-plastic bullet motion put to Dublin City Council by éirígí activist Councillor Louise Minihan.
Brenda is the wife of John Downes, who was killed by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC in west Belfast in August 1984.
Brenda said: “I welcome this initiative by éirígí in highlighting the lethal nature of plastic bullets, particularly after they have been recklessly fired by the PSNI on two separate occasions in less than two months. I appeal to all the councillors on Dublin City Council to back this crucial motion and put pressure on the British government to ban their use. This is a human rights issue that needs to rise above normal party politics.
“Plastic bullets kill. Since their introduction to the Six Counties in the early 1970s, 17 civilians have been killed as a result of their use. Hundreds more have been injured, many seriously.
“I hope that other parties will follow éirígí’s lead and put similar motions to councils across Ireland. Everyone has a role to play in getting plastic bullets banned before someone else is killed or seriously injured.”
éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson welcomed Brenda’s statement, saying: “Over the last 25 years, Brenda Downes has campaigned tirelessly for the banning of plastic bullets. Today’s statement shows she is as committed to the campaign as ever.
“éirígí is grateful for Brenda’s support of this motion and is confident that a broad coalition of communities, human rights campaigners and political groups can succeed in getting plastic bullets taken out of the hands of human rights abusers and banned for good.”
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