[Sinn Fein]

27 February 2001

Foot & Mouth Disease - Sinn Fein call for British Army to be confined to barracks

Sinn Fein Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Gerry McHugh has called for an immediate halt to all British Army Troop movements throughout the north of Ireland given the concerns about the potential for the wild fire spread of Foot and Mouth disease.

Mr McHugh said:

Concerns have been raised in recent days that the uncontrolled movement of British Army soldiers is undermining measures to deal with the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

I would urge the British Secretary of State to immediately halt the movement all British Army soldiers and confine them to Barracks.

Any widespread outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the north would be disastrous for our farming community. The removal of British Army soldiers from our rural communities would be a pro-active step to ensure that measures taken to assess and contain any threat are not jeopardised.

I also support the call for the north of Ireland to be recognised separately from Britain. I have consistently called for leaders within the farming community to follow our lead and back the call for the creation of an all Ireland farming identity. Our association with Britain has done us no favours.

Sinn Fein have consistently called for demilitarisation the British Army are heightening tensions in many rural areas and the re- militarisation of areas such as Fermanagh, South Tyrone and South Armagh is undermining support for the peace process.

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