Next Plastic Bullet fatality only a matter of time.

2nd September 2002 – Next Plastic Bullet fatality
only a matter of time

United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets
Chairperson of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets Clara Reilly
today issued the following appeal:

“Last Wednesday night – 28th August a number of young people were shot
and injured with plastic bullets in the Short Strand area. Two of these
young people were detained in hospital and remained on ventilators to
help them breathe following horrific internal and external injuries. Had
paramedics not been present at the time of the injuries being sustained
these young men would not be alive today. Both of the young people, one
a minor, were shot by members of the British army, acting under
instruction from the PSNI, in the chest, with total disregard for safety
or law.

“Had this type of injury been inflicted by paramilitaries there would
undoubtedly and justifiably have been widespread outcry. There must be a
consistent revulsion for the breaches of human rights and the placing of
innocent lives at danger particularly when the forces of the state are
involved. Silence is not an option. We must not wait – our message to
the Police Board and Hugh Orde is to immediately withdraw plastic
bullets before there is a fatality.

“We are calling for immediate independent investigation into the
unaccountable use of plastic bullets and a criminal inquiry into the
injuries being sustained by young people a result of the use of plastic
bullets. It is imperative that the whole community moves now to issue an
immediate ban on the use of these weapons before we witness the death of
the 18th victim of plastic bullets. We are completely dismayed at Hugh
Orde’s comments today justifying the use of plastic bullets and using
the flawed report by the Ombudsman as a vehicle to do so.”

Note: the Ombudsman’s report chose to select only a few incidents where
plastic bullets were discharged and was by no means a comprehensive
report or examination.