AP 3 - 2022 - 200-2

21 August 1997 Edition

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British dig in

Base reinforced in South Armagh despite peace process

A massive reinforcement by the British Army of border based lookout posts has taken place in South Armagh.

Helicopters carried diggers and concrete slabs along with extra troops for reinforcement work at the Faughill Mountain base which overlooks the main Dublin to Belfast road. The work was carried out last week between 11 and 15 August. Locals have been angered by this move and they say the size of the spy post has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. The situation is similar to that during the 1994 cessation when Drumucknaval spy post in Crossmaglen almost doubled in size.

Newry and Mourne Sinn Fein Councillor Packy Mc Donald has hit out at the reinforcement of the lookout posts by the British Army. He said:

``I am calling on the British minister for `security' in the Six Counties, Adam Ingram, to immediately cease all such work. It is at odds with the current atmosphere created by the IRA cessation and it isn't conducive with a climate in which to build a lasting peace. I am also calling for the complete demilitarisation of all border posts and the returning of British soliders to their barracks pending their entire departure from our country.''

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has also hit out at the British strategy this week: ``The building programmes of military fortifications across the Six Counties should end. Why are the British actively preparing for more conflict?''

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