The parents of a teenager being questioned over the murder of a police constable in Northern Ireland have insisted their son is innocent.
Speaking moments after police officers armed with sub-machine guns swooped on the teenager, his mother said: “He isn't interested in politics, he only likes football.”
The boy's stepfather, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, told The Daily Telegraph: “It's a disgrace that he's been arrested. He likes a drink but he would never harm anyone. He's a good boy.”
He claimed his stepson had an alibi — that he was at his girlfriend's house drinking at the time Constable Carroll was shot on Monday night.
The teenager was held outside his stepfather's house in a strongly republican area of Craigavon, Co Armagh, as he was walking along the street with his girlfriend.
He was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, placed in a forensic suit, and taken to a police station in Antrim, his stepfather said.
Police then used a battering ram to enter his stepfather's house and officers in forensic suits spent an hour searching it. They also raided his girlfriend's house nearby.
His stepfather, who was not arrested, said: “They've taken things like computers and shoes. They told me he was being arrested and I haven't been allowed to speak to him. But when it happened he was round at his girlfriend's having a drink.
“It's terrible the way they are treating people. There used to be Provisionals around here in the past but they don't really exist any more, it's just a small faction of people.
“But the police aren't giving the people a chance. There's been a man shot and they need to do something about it, it's one of their own. But when you do something like this, arresting him, it encourages people to join these organisations.” He claimed his stepson had an alibi — that he was at his girlfriend's house drinking at the time Pc Carroll was shot on Monday night.
After the house was searched officers in forensic suits also examined an underside ofa car outside as marksmen armed with sniper rifles guarded the immediate area.
Police investigating the murder are also questioning a 37-year-old man.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the political wing of the Continuity IRA (CIRA) has said that the shooting dead of Mr Carroll was not murder.
Despite the strong wave of condemnation which followed the shooting, Richard Walsh, publicity director for Republican Sinn Fein, said: “It’s inevitable that this was going to happen.
He said:“I certainly don’t recognise it as murder, no.”
On the declaration of Martin McGuinness that those who carried out the killing were “traitors to the island of Ireland”, he responded: “Well, I think he’d need to look closer to home for who are the traitors, frankly.”
“I haven’t really heard any real reaction to it other than what’s in the papers, and I think a lot of that is scripted, to be honest, choreographed. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised by it.”
And, Eirígí, the hardline republican group opposed to Sinn Fein’s power sharing position, have released a statement saying the time was not right for an armed struggle.
The statement, which did not condemn the shooting of the two soldiers and the police officer was posted on the internet last night.
Spokesman Breandán MacCionnaith, who left Sinn Fein over its decision to sit at Stormont, said: “Eirígí does not believe that the conditions exist at this time for a successful armed struggle against the British occupation.”
The group claimed their statement was released following “repeated requests for Eirígí to clarify its position with regard to recent events”.
Added Mr MacCionnaith: “Over the course of the last two-and-a-half years, Eirígí has organised countless public events aimed at building public opposition to British rule and imperialism in Ireland.
Eirígí’s protest in opposition to the controversial RIR parade in Belfast in November past is an example of just one such event.
“While supporting the right of any people to defend themselves from imperial aggression éirígí does not believe that the conditions exist at this time for a successful armed struggle against the British occupation.”
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