19 March 1998 Edition

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Helicopters killed sheep

By Peadar Whelan

Farmer Henry McIlroy has accused a British army helicopter pilot of deliberately killing sheep and lambs on his South Armagh farm and of cross border incursions during a mission on Friday evening 13 March.

Speaking to An Phoblacht Mr McIlroy said that between 8 and 8.30pm on Friday a British army Lynx helicopter flew over his land as low as 30 feet from the ground scattering the sheep below. The heavily pregnant sheep panicked and died due to the stress.

Five sheep that were due to lamb died with their lambs while another five sheep also lost the lambs they were carrying.

Mr McIlroy estimates that he has lost upwards of £1,000.

Regarding the cross-border incursions Mr McIlroy said, ``at 8pm on Friday a Lynx came in over Glassdrummond, down the valley through my land and over the border at Castle Roche which is clearly in the 26 Counties''.

The chopper flew almost as far as Dundalk then along the main road to Hackballscross and over into the North. It then flew a second sweep that took it right over Hackballscross. A motorist driving along the road also told An Phoblacht that the helicopter came right down over his car, to about 30 or 40 feet, while a farmer living just over the border claimed it hovered over his house at between 100 and 150 feet.

``It was there for a few minutes'', said the man, who wishes to remain anonymous.

``They were over the `State' for about 15 minutes'', said Henry McIlroy, who is a member of the South Armagh Farmers and Reidents Group which is campaigning for the demilitarisation of South Armagh.

A spokesperson for the USPCA told us that one ewe had been sent away to be tested for an exact cause of death.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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