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British government challenged to produce strategy to remove British Army from the North

21 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on demilitarisation, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has challenged the British Secretary of State Peter Hain to produce a strategy to remove the presence of the British Army from the Six Counties.

Commenting after the British MOD confirmed that a British Army regiment, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, based at Lisanelly Barracks in Omagh, Co Tyrone, will not be replaced when they leave in August 2006, Mr Hyland said:

"The British government have not produced the blueprint for the removal of the guns of the British Army from the political equation. Their approach has done nothing to build confidence in the nationalist and republican community that they are willing to deliver the scale of troop reductions that they have committed themselves to. The approach to date has been piecemeal and, significantly, only as a result of rationalisation.

"Sinn Féin is committed to the removal of all guns from the politics of Ireland. It is time that the British government begun to live up to their own commitments in regard of removing British guns, that have killed hundreds of people and often 'mysteriously' found their way into the hands of unionist paramilitaries.

"Huge areas of the Six Counties are still dominated by British military fortifications and surveillance equipment that poses a threat to the health of people and damages both inward investment and the development of tourism.

"It makes a mockery of the peace process that British Army levels here are higher than in Iraq and that nationalists still have to live with the British Army presence." ENDS

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