Councillor criticises police for “politically motivated” arrest

March 3, 2014

A Newry councillor who was questioned last week in connection with the murder of former IRA man, Eamon Collins, has criticised the PSNI claiming his arrest was “politically motivated”.

Independent republican councillor Davy Hyland was released unconditionally on Thursday after being questioned for two days about the murder of the former IRA man, turned-supergrass in January 1999.

Mr Hyland (59) contradicted police press statements that he was arrested in Newry after a raid on his home, instead pointing out that he went “voluntarily” to Antrim police station on Tuesday evening when he learned that police had visited his home earlier that day.

He denies any involvement in Collins’s murder and revealed that, while in custody, he consented to a full medical examination and DNA tests, which did not match the profile taken from the murder scene.

“I answered all the questions put to me as I know I am totally innocent,” he said.

“I believe my arrest was politically motivated to embarrass me and my family in the run-up to the local elections in May.  When you look at it logically, why would they pick out a councillor, someone high profile in the Newry area who is opposed to what is going on in Stormont?  If you are looking at it, there may be a degree of political interference and manipulation,” he added.

In 1985 Mr Hyland was one of 40 people arrested on the word of Eamon Collins when he turned supergrass under RUC interrogation.

“Why was it that I, as an individual, was singled out when over 40 people were named by Eamon Collins in the 1980s during the supergrass trial?” Mr Hyland asked.

In response, a police spokesman said: “Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch continue to actively pursue the persons responsible for the horrific murder of Eamon Collins in Newry 15 years ago.”