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SDLP Councillor trivialises health concerns of a community

4 November, 2004

Newry and Mourne District Sinn Féin Councillor Terry Hearty has expressed disappointment at the comments of Newry SDLP Councillor Pat Mc Elroy in relation to the health concerns of the South Armagh community over the issues of the British Military telecommunication masts and surveillance equipment placed throughout the area.

SDLP Councillor McElroy has compared the fears of many South Armagh residents about these masts to that of what he calls 'Edwina Curry's infamous salmonella outburst'.

Cllr Hearty said:

"The vast majority of residents living under the shadow of the British military towers and surveillance equipment have serious and genuine concerns about the ongoing effect that the emissions from this paraphernalia has on their health.

"Academic and medical reports provide compelling evidence about the impact of British Army watch towers and surveillance equipment on this community. For those of us living in South Armagh, we are in essence, being fried 24-hours a day 7 days a week.

"A wide range of elected representatives from throughout Ireland, including SDLP colleagues of Councillor McElroy, supports the removal of these towers, the surveillance equipment and the constant helicopter flights. Indeed many support the removal of the British war machine, which undoubtedly damage tourism and inward investment.

"Whilst there are some like Councillor McElroy who want to continue to demonise the community of South Armagh and trivialise the genuine health concerns of people living in areas such as Bessbrook, Camloch, Forkhill, Lislea, Crossmaglen, Newtownhamilton, Sinn Féin will continue to support all groups and individuals who keep these concerns to the fore, out front, and not hidden away, until they are resolved." ENDS

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