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British Army spying on GAA raises very serious issues

23 February, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy was today joined by party colleagues Davy Hyland MLA and Cllr. Packie McDonald along with a representative of Dromintee GAC, Declan Fearon, for a press conference in Belfast. The Press Conference revealed a document recently found by a local farmer detailing which sites cameras on a British Army spy post in the area where fixed upon. Amongst those targeted was the clubrooms of Dromintee GAC and the homes of nine club members.

Mr Murphy said:

"This document was found by a local farmer. It shows which sites cameras on a British Army spy post in the area where fixed upon. There are over 30 cameras on the post, this document lists 12 of them. One of the cameras was permanently fixed upon the local GAA clubrooms, a facility used by the entire community. The other cameras were fixed on local family homes including the home of local Sinn Féin Councillor Packie McDonald. All of the families targeted are members of the Dromintee GAA club.

"It is quite clear that the British state have taken a conscious decision to spy on the local GAA club and its members. Local people are outraged at this exposure and this operation raises very serious matters for the GAA at national level.

"The spying on the local GAA club of course also raises very serious questions for Tony Blair and the British government.

Why are they spying on local people 10 years into a peace process?

How long has the operation against the GAA being ongoing and what other clubs are involved?

Why are they specifically targeting the GAA and this club?

Who authorised the spying operation on Dromintee Club and what was the motivation behind it?

"These are the sort of questions local people are asking and demanding answers to. Sinn Féin will be raising this matter with both the British Prime Minister and Taoiseach in discussions next week. The local club is seeking meetings with the GAA President to discuss this very serious matter.

"It has long since past the time for Tony Blair to commit his system to peaceful and democratic activity. They must end their war against ordinary nationalists and republicans if progress is to be made in the coming months." ENDS

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