NUJ calls for return of Derry journalist’s mobile phone

The NUJ is calling for the return of a mobile phone seized from a Derry journalist yesterday.

Eamon Mc Dermott is a freelance journalist who regularly covers court sittings in Derry for several media outlets, including Highland Radio News.

He also writes about dissident republicans, and occasionally receives claims of responsibility for actions they have carried out. Six weeks ago, he was questioned about a claim he received regarding a Real IRA bomb attack on the car of a relative of a PSNI officer.

Yesterday, however, the phone was seized on foot of a warrant, even though he says they have been able to access his records remotely through his service provider.

He now says his livlihood is compromised because he has no phone.

The NUJ's Irish secretary Seamus Dooley described the seizure as a threat to journalists' rights to protect their sources' confidentiality, and says there is a question mark over how possession of the handset can assist the specific investigation.

Mr Mc Dermott fears his contacts list will now be trawled through by the PSNI, and potentially used in a way which may endanger him.