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MP Calls For Knockaginney and Annaghoe bridges to be returned to working order

13 October, 2004

In talks with An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and Foreign minister Dermot Ahern last week as part of a top level Sinn Féin negotiating team, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew in addition to raising issues central to the Peace Process also called for Knockaginney and Annaghoe bridges to be returned to working order and for spy posts to be taken down from Castle Hill and Quarry Lane.

Michelle Gildernew said:

"I explained to an Taoiseach that the destruction of these bridges by British Forces was a daily reminder of how the British had attempted to separate friends and relatives by creating an artificial border. We never allowed this to happen despite the physical difficulties put in our way. These bridges are the link between the villages of Caledon and Glaslough. Knockaginney bridge divides a number of farms, adding miles to journeys for the people who work these fields, creating additional problems for a rural community that already faces a great deal of pressure.

"The British government committed itself to demilitarisation in the Good Friday Agreement but the people of Tyrone haven't seen evidence of this, instead we are still subjected to daily surveillance from spy posts in Castle Hill and Quarry Lane."

"The British military seems to have bottomless resources that are a hazard to the community, particularly the late night shooting from Killymeale barracks and the ceaseless helicopter activity. We want these barracks closed down and turned into something useful for the community, we want the spy posts removed and we want destroyed bridges that separate us from friends and relatives to be restored. I pressed the Taoiseach to push this matter with the British Government and he is aware how strongly the people of South Tyrone feel about the issue of continued British military activity." ENDS

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