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Sinn Féin Meet British Government Over Crossmaglen Land Grab

26 July, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy along with South Armagh Councillors Terry Hearty and Pat McGinn today met with the British Direct Rule Security Minister Paul Goggins at Stormont Castle. The meeting, at Sinn Fein’s request , was to discuss efforts by the PSNI and Policing Board to steal land belonging to local people currently occupied by the British military in Crossmaglen.

Mr Murphy said:

“Since local landowners in Crossmaglen were first informed of a Policing Board and PSNI plan to steal their land in late June, Sinn Féin have raised this matter with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister directly. Today we met with the British Direct Rule Security Minister Paul Goggins to impress upon him the seriousness of the situation in Crossmaglen.

“Attempts by the PSNI to steal land currently occupied by the British Military is in our view a direct breach of British government commitments to demilitarise their war apparatus from within this community. Also efforts by the PSNI to maintain a military base complete with helicopter pad in a town of a few thousand people, raises very serious concerns about the type of policing service which these people envisage in South Armagh in the future.

“Sinn Féin want to see this issue resolved speedily and the occupied land returned to its rightful owners. We believe that this resolution can be achieved. Ultimately this is a matter of British policy. Sinn Féin will continue to work with the land owners affected and with the two governments as we seek to end this shabby land grab and allow the community in Crossmaglen to be completely demilitarised and the military occupation of their town centre ended.” ENDS

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