[Sinn Fein]

1st July 2003

British Army refurbish Bases in South Armagh

Newry/Armagh Sinn Fein Spokesperson, Conor Murphy said he has received numerous complaints from people living in south Armagh that British army bases are being refurbished despite the promise of a rolling programme of demilitarisation in this area.

Mr Murphy said;

``The British army have almost completed the removal of two watch towers from Cloughogue and Tievecrum in south Armagh. However people are angry that whilst this work was being carried out the British army have begun to strengthen and refurbish other bases in this area. During the last week I have received numerous complaints from local people that a fleet of lorries and increased helicopter activity have been working at Forkhill Barracks. We are now lead to believe that 2 aerials have been removed but are being replaced by one larger aerial with satellite dishes and electronic equipment.

``The promise to implement a rolling programme of demilitarisation gave people hope that the British army presence in this area would be removed in it's entirety. However our experience to date has been that the watchtowers have now been replaced by frequent checkpoints on roads in the area. During the weekend residents reported helicopters landing in fields near Lisbeg Park, Crossmaglen in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning. People are justifiably angry that the British army leave one area but yet are engaged in strengthening their bases in other parts of south Armagh.''

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