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Cowen must forcefully protest to British over Co. Louth incursion

12 February, 2004

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Arthur Morgan, has reacted angrily to news that at least one joint British Army/PSNI patrol entered the county Louth village of Omeath last night. He urged the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen to make an immediate and forceful protest to the British Government for this latest incursion.

Deputy Morgan said:

"it is totally unacceptable that at this stage in the peace process we still have British troops on the ground in any part of Ireland, north or south, but to have these heavily armed troops, backed by military helicopters crossing the border is an outrage.

"It is galling to listen to Paul Murphy and Tony Blair continually lecture Republicans about IRA weapons that are silent and beyond use when their storm-troopers are entering lands and intimidating civilians on this side of the border. I received more than a dozen calls from concerned members of the public last night who described the activities of the troops as sinister.

"I am calling on Brian Cowen to express in the most forceful terms possible to the British Government the unacceptability of this situation and demand that they live up to their responsibilities in relation to the Good Friday Agreement and start a proper process of demilitarisation.

"We've had enough of excuses about map-reading errors - it time the Gardai were directed to arrest any British troops or PSNI members illegally crossing the border."

Deputy Morgan concluded by rejecting claims by the PSNI that there was no border incursion saying, "in light of the history of lies and misinformation that has and continues to come from British security services in relation to their dirty war in Ireland I will take their denial with a pinch of salt." ENDS

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