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Removal of last 'emergency' British Army battalion does not equate to the promised programme of demilitarisation

5 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy has said that while many of his constituents will be happy at the announcement that the last 'emergency' British Army battalion, currently based in Bessbrook, will be sent back to Britain in the New Year that levels of British Army activity and harassment particularly in rural area highlighted the failure of the British government to deliver the promised programme of demilitarisation.

Mr Murphy said:

"Anything that further reduces the number of British troops stationed in the north must be welcomed.

"However, this does not equate to dealing with British Army soldiers who are still very active on the ground particularly in rural communities such as South Armagh.

"The British government must deliver on its commitment to a rolling programme of demilitarisation."

Sinn Fein demilitarisation spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland added:

"On an almost daily basis there is evidence that levels of British Army activity and harassment are negatively affecting the lives of ordinary decent people going about their daily business.

"The impact of the British Army presence on the lives of children at school, on communities, businesses and farmers cannot be underestimated.

"Transforming the political landscape demands that the British government deliver on its commitments to dismantle the British war machine." ENDS

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