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Former Sinn Fein man goes missing

A man who police reported missing and in breach of a court order last Thursday is a former Sinn Fein election candidate in West Tyrone.

The PSNI has launched a massive search operation after Martin Forbes (51) from Strabane in Co Tyrone went missing.

Forbes, who also goes by the name of Drew, has breached a court order which requires him to inform police of any change of address.

Police say he could be anywhere in Ireland or Britain and he could pose a risk to women and children. Forbes was last seen in Belfast three weeks ago.

Forbes served a lengthy prison sentence for the Provisional IRA and was on the “blanket” protest in Long Kesh. After he was released from jail, he became active in Sinn Féin and stood for the party in Strabane in the 1989 local government elections.

He failed to get elected but remained active and prominent in the party for years afterwards, according to local republicans.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said Forbes left Sinn Fein in the early 1990s.

“We are aware a serious allegation has been made against him of the sexual abuse of a child and the matter is being dealt with by the courts,” he told the Sunday Tribune.

“This is not an historic case. It relates to allegations of abuse in the here and now. There has never been an allegation made that Mr Forbes was involved in any abuse during his time within the party.

“If such an allegation had been made he would have been subjected to party disciplinary procedures and the appropriate statutory authorities notified.”

The spokesman urged anyone with information to contact the PSNI or gardaí.

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