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26 April 2001 Edition

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British Army lies about helicopter incident

Sinn Féin has rubbished British Army claims that their helicopters never fly in South Armagh with their doors open. The claim was made as part of the Army's denial that an object fell from a helicopter near Crossmaglen on Good Friday. A British Army spokesperson said: ``When a helicopter takes off the loadmaster shuts the door so something cannot fall or get blown out.''

Sinn Féin's Colman Burns said it was ``incredible'' that the British Army press office could issue such a statement. ``Helicopters regularly fly in South Armagh with their doors open, as can be confirmed by anyone who has spent any time in the area,'' he said. ``There are numerous photographs to prove the British Army is telling lies. Moreover, there have been several incidents over the years when debris has fallen from helicopters.

``The British Army has also denied that there were helicopters in the Carron Hill area last Good Friday, when the latest incident took place. That is another lie. The farmer on whose land the piece of hardboard fell has made an official complaint.

``It is no surprise that the first reaction of the British Army is to tell lies about this incident, though in this case they are being more blatant than usual. Their practice when faced with accusations of wrongdoing over the years has been to tell lies. Quite simply, you can't believe a word they say.''
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