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30 March 2006 Edition

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Demilitarisation needs to be advanced

Sinn Féin has called for the process of British demilitarisation in the Six Counties to be accelerated. The comments followed a British government announcment this week regarding intention to further demilitarise.

Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh said that Sinn Féin was the only party to have consistently demanded that the British government remove its war apparatus from the North.

" It has always been a key element of our discussions with the British government. I have met both the British and Irish governments on this issue over a period of years. We have consistently called for the British government to produce a comprehensive strategy to achieve the demilitarisation of our society. I welcomed the start that the British government made last year to the demilitarisation process and I hope that today's moves advance that process further. I now want to see the job completed as quickly as possible."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the issue of demilitarisation Davy Hyland today said that people in areas most affected by militarisation had to enjoy the benefits of the peace process denied to them up until now.

"It is now over ten years since the first IRA cessation. Yet in many areas of the six counties, particularly in South Armagh, local communities continue to be amongst the most heavily militarised in Western Europe", Hyland said.

Such a situation was unacceptable and while Sinn Féin welcomed the fact that the British government was finally living up to its Good Friday Agreement commitments, the party would continue to maintain pressure for a process to deliver a society free from the apparatus of war.

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