[Sinn Fein]

9th May 2000

Welcome start to demilitarisation

Conor Murphy, MLA Newry/Armagh, today welcomed the closure of Cloughogue Spy-Post and the removal of the British Army sangar from Crossmaglen Square as the first steps to complete demilitarisation of South Armagh.

Conor Murphy said:

``I raised this issue personally with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, during the recent discussions at Hillsborough. The people of South Armagh will welcome this announcement as the beginning of the British government's programme of complete demilitarisation of our area. It is just that - a beginning - and we will continue to campaign for the total withdrawal of all British military personnel from South Armagh and the rest of the Six Counties.

``The land that was taken by the Crown Forces from local people in Crossmaglen Square must be returned immediately. There can be no justification for any delay.

``In tandem with the closure of these fortifications, all helicopter flights should cease. The people of South Armagh should not have to endure this provocation one day longer.''ENDS

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