23 October 1997 Edition

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United front against spyposts

Over 1000 people gathered in Crossmaglen on Sunday 19 October to protest against the lookout posts and increased helicopter flights and foot patrols by the British Army since the IRA cessation.

The march and rally, organised by the recently established South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee, began south of the border and made its way to the lookout post on Drumuckavall mountian in the north. Here, the crowd was addressed by speakers from Sinn Féin, SDLP, Fianna Fáil, the GAA and local farmers.

Each speaker expressed their anger at the extension of lookout posts and increased daily harassment of local farmers since the IRA cessation. Fianna Fáil TD for Louth, Seamus Kirk insisted that these points would be raised in Leinster House. He said, ``the removal of the lookout posts would be a very welcome gesture.''

Chairperson of Crossmaglen GAA Club expressed his anger at the increased harassment and intimidation of club members, he said, ``property belonging to everyone should be returned. It was taken at the point of a gun and was being held at the point of a gun.''

Jim McAllister of Sinn Fein lightened the atmosphere with his speech. ``The camera which is usually positioned beside us was taken down last night as some sort of concession, as with the change of hard helmets to soft hats. They could come with roses up their backsides, we still don't want them. We don't want gestures, we want our rights, we want our property.''

The rally ended with Declan Fearon, chairperson of the Farmers and Residents Committee stating, ``our objective is to see these lookout posts completely gone. Let us have our say in the peace process.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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