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South Armagh residents inform EU conference about continuing British military presence

14 June, 2005


A number of South Armagh residents today informed participants at an EU conference in Brussels about the continuing British military presence in their area.

The conference was organised to discuss military bases in Europe. The event was also attended by Bairbre de Brún MEP.

Speaking today a residents spokesperson said:

"The South Armagh Demilitarisation Committee was formed a number of years ago to campaign against the ongoing military occupation of our local area. More than 10 years have passed since the beginning of the Peace Process and seven years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement - although for the people who live in South Armagh very little has changed.

"The fortifications erected by the British Army and the massive surveillance operation they engaged in during the years of conflict continue unabated. We also highlighted the dangers posed to the health of people and livestock by the massive concentration of low frequency microwave radiation emitted by the huge array of surveillance equipment. We have been supported by independent research. Scientists and medical professionals have expressed their concerns.

"The British Government continues to ignore these concerns. We have highlighted the effect on the natural environment, particularly in relation to the raw sewage discharge from five spy posts. This is happening above the water table, causing pollution to streams and rivers, but also damaging rare plant species.

"It is difficult to believe, but currently there are more British troops stationed in the Six Counties than in Iraq.

"It was important to listen to other stories and experiences from today's conference. We will continue to campaign for the complete removal of the apparatus of repression which continues to blight the South Armagh countryside and its people.

Ms de Brún added:

"It has been seven years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and people in highly militarised areas like South Armagh have yet to see the full benefits of the peace process. South Armagh is an area of outstanding natural beauty, yet continues to be blighted by watchtowers, surveillance equipment and military overflights.

"It is important that people at today's conference were able to hear first hand accounts of what life is like in South Armagh." ENDS

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