[Sinn Fein]

15th April 1999

Hats Off to the British Army

Sinn Fein Assembly member for South Armagh Conor Murphy commenting on British Soldiers once again wearing steel helmets, `is a small but obvious sign that far from demilitarising, the British army are in fact stepping up its activity'.

Mr Murphy said:

``When British soldiers changed from wearing steel helmets to berets, TV crews and photographers were invitee to record the change. It was presented as a significant move towards demilitarisation. It was never that, of course, but the media obliged with extensive coverage. Now that British soldiers in South Armagh are once again wearing steel helmets I would invite the same journalists to record the scenes.

``And while they are in South Armagh, they can also record the building work at Glassdrummond lookout post which the British Army press office last week denied was taking place but this week have conceded is going on. The press should also record the helicopter flights in South Armagh which are at an all- time high, and the increased checkpoints and the record numbers of patrols.

``In fact, the British Army probably felt they looked out of placein soft hats among all the military activity and the expensive hardware. Their steel helmets just complete the picture.''

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