Belfast Telegraph

Union to hold solidarity rally for probation officers after republican threats

A rally in solidarity with probation officers threatened by dissident republicans will be held on Tuesday, union leaders have said.

It will take place at lunchtime outside the Probation Board Northern Ireland (PBNI) Belfast city-centre headquarters.

Social workers were among those standing "shoulder to shoulder" with their colleagues in the Probation Board.

Carolyn Ewart, country manager at the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers, said: "Probation officers play a vital role in supporting offenders to transform their lives in what are often difficult transitional periods.

"Their work, which is of great value in improving our society, contrasts sharply with the callous threats made against them."

The PSNI contacted the board to advise that the threat level against some members has been raised, particularly in republican areas.

Board chiefs briefed 400 members of staff.

Security advice has been provided to all staff and the PSNI is to organise personal security at some sites.

NIPSA trade union official Dooley Harte said Tuesday's rally was intended to show anger and disgust at the "disgraceful" threats.

"PBNI support all our communities by reducing offending behaviour and, in doing so, supporting individuals with very complex needs. They pose no threat to anyone."

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