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20 April 2000 Edition

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Soldiers hamper Divis rescue

``Outrageous,'' is how a spokesperson for Divis Tower Residents' Association described the actions of British soldiers in Belfast who delayed the rescue of a woman trapped in a lift for over an hour.

``A home help was visiting an elderly resident when she became trapped in a lift,'' residents' spokesperson John Leatham told An Phoblacht. The alarm was raised immediately and a maintenance worker arrived within 15 minutes.

``Soldiers occupying the roof refused to allow the workman into the lift room to carry out the repairs necessary to release the trapped woman,'' said John. ``The soldiers were aware that someone was trapped in the lift but still refused access.''

The home help was left trapped for over an hour before the British Army allowed the maintenance worker access to carry out repairs and release the woman.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Fra McCann said: ``The British Army is clearly engaged in a petty campaign of intimidation and harassment against the residents of Divis Tower. They should as a matter of urgency remove their unwanted and unnecessary installation.''

Meanwhile, the Housing Executive has refused to comment on Sinn Féin claims that the British Army is set to occupy the 11th floor of Maeve House, a block of flats in North Belfast, when redevelopment of the multi-story block begins later this summer.

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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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