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Sinn Féin call for reopening of last closed border roads

25 October, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew, together Sinn Féin Daíl Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and local Cllr Phelim Gildernew met with Dublin officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs at the sites of the last two remaining closed border crossings at Knockginney and Annaghroe.

Speaking after the onsite meeting Michelle Gildernew MP said:

"These are the last two border crossings yet to be reopened out of the 100 or so that were originally closed off by the British Army. These two remaining border crossings are in such close proximity to each other that it is difficult to understand why there has been this delay.

"We need to build bridges between these communities at Glasslough and Caledon that have been cut off from their natural hinterland for more than 30 years.

"The MoD needs to move quickly to put in place the funding required to have these border crossings opened immediately."

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin welcomed the opportunity to further press Dublin government officials on the importance of having the still closed cross border crossings reopened with urgency.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"Having raised the issue of the continuing closure of the bridges at Knockaginney and Annaghroe at the St. Andrew's talks, I am pleased that this visit was organised quickly afterwards.

"Both Michelle and myself have pursued the vexed failure on the part of both Governments throughout the past number of years. We need to see this failure addressed immediately. Neither Sinn Féin nor the effected communities are prepared to accept the traditional excuses for the delay in having these crossings addressed. The time for actions is now. "

Local Councillor Phelim Gildernew reiterated the frustration of the communities, he said:

"Despite years of lobbying with the British and Irish Governments, nothing has been done to date. For the important growth of these two neighbouring communities it is essential that these border crossings be reopened immediately. These communities have suffered long enough at the cost of the border." ENDS

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