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13 September 2000 Edition

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No sign of demilitarisation

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly told a press conference in Belfast yesterday that for the peace process to succeed, politics must be seen to work and British demilitarisation must be seen to be under way. ``There must be demilitarisation in places such as Fermanagh and South Armagh,'' he said.

Accompanied by Assembly members Francie Molloy, Gerry McHugh and Michelle Gildernew, who is also the party's Fermanagh/South Tyrone candidate for the next Westminster election, Kelly said that instead of decreasing their activities along the border, the crown forces have increased their patrolling.

``The issue of demilitarisation is as central to the future wellbeing of the peace process as is the question of future policing arrangements,'' he said.

Releasing figures indicating the level of crown forces activity in Fermanagh, Michelle Gildernew said that in the period between 14 August and 20 August, there were 125 helicopter flights over the town of Enniskillen alone. Other intense helicopter activity was recorded in the Newtownbutler and Wattlebridge areas. In Lisnaskea, there were daily British Army and RUC foot patrols in the period through the last week in July and the first week in August.

Newtownbutler, Roslea and Donagh also saw heavy helicopter and ground patrolling.

``The area has been subjected to numerous RIR patrols and checkpoints,'' said Gildernew. ``Fermanagh is still a heavily militarised county. Six years after the first IRA cessation, there are still seven functioning spy posts along the border using surveillance equipment. There are four joint British army and RUC barracks in Lisnaskea, Roslea, Enniskillen and Newtownbutler, while the refurbishment of barracks in Roslea, Kinawley and Newtownbutler continues.

``Where is he peace dividend for the people of Fermanagh?''

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