[Sinn Fein]

23 July 2000

Louth residents find British Army presence oppressive

New British Army security cameras in Crossmaglen

Louth Sinn Fein County Councillor Arthur Morgan said today that the British Army presence in South Armagh is a continuing irritation to people on both sides of the Border.

Councillor Morgan pointed out that new surveillance technology has been installed in Crossmaglen. He also said that helicopter activity on the Louth/Armagh border is persistent, and the Royal Navy and Marine Commandos are still patrolling Carlingford Lough. Councillor Morgan asked:

``If the British Army is increasing its visible presence on the ground through cameras and listening equipment, how much is being stepped up that we cannot immediately see but is still spying and collecting information on people?''

He said that ongoing intelligence gathering by the British Army, RIR and the RUC is causing unease among nationalists still fearful of collusion between them and loyalist paramilitaries.

Councillor Morgan said the slowness of demilitarisation has brought a number of complaints from constituents to Sinn Fein's councillors in County Louth.

``People from Louth do business and socialise in South Armagh as a matter of course. The continued and very visible British Army presence is a continuing source of irritation to people in their daily lives and I am calling on the Taoiseach to bring pressure to bear on the British Government to meet its commitments on demilitarisation.''

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