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Sinn Féin Councillor demands an end to low helicopters overflights in Fermanagh

15 September, 2008


Following the DPP meeting at which he raised the issue of low flying helicopters, Councillor Thomas O'Reilly stated that he expected an end to such actions as they could not be justified under any circumstances and certainly not as training for the British war in Afghanistan.

Sinn Féin councillors in Erne East have received a large number of complaints from residents and parents living in Lisnaskea, Donagh and the Knocks area that they were subjected to overflights by helicopters at levels just above roof tops on September 4th.

Cllr O'Reilly said:

"The helicopters flew just over rooftops and caused great disturbance for residents and families. I have heard reports that children were frightened by the noise caused.

"Two helicopters circled low around Emmett's football club in Lisnaskea where young children were playing football and many who had thankfully never had this experience before were unnecessarily frightened. We don't need to be going back to the days of these low flights.

"I have pursued this matter with the PSNI as helicopter overflights should be sanctioned by the police. Initially, they said that they no knowledge of the flights but at the DPP meeting they said that it was RAF practicing.

"The justification that this was the RAF preparing for low-level operations in Afghanistan is completely unacceptable. Just why is it that populations in and around Lisnaskea have to be treated as 'guinea pigs' for such RAF training. If this is how the RAF are intimidating populations in the military occupation of Afghanistan then it is little wonder that they are losing the hearts and minds battle there.

"I raised this issue at last night's DPP meeting and have been assured by Commander Barton that my concerns will be raised with the RAF. We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that these disturbances are not repeated." ENDS

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