21 October 2004 Edition

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British Army refurbish spy post

Local people in the Crossmaglen area of South Armagh have uncovered evidence of the British Army refurbishing and enlarging surveillance installations in South Armagh.

Residents became concerned at the increasing number of helicopter flights to and from the installation at Drummuckavall, about a mile from Crossmaglen. A group of residents approached the base at the weekend, accompanied by members of the Demilitarisation Committee. The residents' arrival was a surprise to the British soldiers manning the base, who were caught in the act of carrying out major refurbishment and enlargement work to a base which should have been demolished years ago.

Residents took photographs of the site, including raw sewage seeping from tanks, and counted 19 pallets of materials for use in the enlargement work. They were eventually challenged by British soldiers, clad in riot gear, who were reinforced by more troops and PSNI men flown in by helicopter. After the residents had explored the site and photographed the work being carried out, they withdrew from the installation.

Councillor Terry Hearty, spokesperson for the South Armagh Demilitarisation Committee said: "We now have evidence that the British Government are not interested in demilitarisation. Despite talk of reducing their military presence in this area, despite the fears of the vast majority of residents of the health hazard posed by these bases, they continue to deface our countryside and blight the lives of the people here. Not only are they not demolishing these dangerous eyesores, they are enlarging them.

"It is up to the people of South Armagh and every politician claiming to represent them to challenge the British Government on their actions and hold them accountable for their continued persecution of of the people of this part of Ireland."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1