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Securocrats Continue Military Agenda

12 February, 2004

Following the announcement that two British army bases in Tyrone and Derry were to be closed Newry/Armagh MLA, Conor Murphy has called on the British government to fully implement commitments made on demilitarisation throughout the north.

Mr Murphy said:

"Whilst I welcome the fact that another two British army bases will be dismantled in Derry and Tyrone there is still huge disappointment in my own constituency that the commitment made by the British government to implement a rolling programme of demilitarisation in south Armagh has been halted. Indeed, on an almost daily basis we receive complaints that British army activity has in fact increased in this area.

"We are also receiving complaints to our office in Newry that British army patrols are back on the streets and helicopter flights over the City centre continue, sometimes throughout the night.

"In south Armagh British army spy-posts remain on virtually every hilltop. Local residents are stopped at vehicle checkpoints when taking their children to school or attempting to attend mass on Sunday. The ongoing harassment of this community is totally unacceptable and cannot be justified in any manner.

"Throughout the north the British army have engaged in sealing off areas. In Tyrone last week the British army sealed off an area for almost seven days. On Wednesday the British army sealed off the Aghmakane Road outside Camlough. Residents were evacuated from several houses but yet nothing was found in the area.

"We are also receiving reports of massive helicopter activity along the border at the Flagstaff in south Armagh during Wednesday evening. Local people stated that British army soldiers crossed the border along the Flagstaff Road near Omeath and in fact members of the PSNI were seen to drive down the road as far as Davey's Pub in the south before turning onto the main road back to Newry.

"This increased level of British army activity in this area is totally unwarranted and unjustified. We need to see the primacy of politics restored

and an end to the military agenda advanced by the securocrats within the British establishment. Sinn Féin is calling for the immediate closure of all British army bases throughout the north and British army troops returned back to base in England."ENDS

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