4 February 1999 Edition

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`Spypost' to be demolished

A demonstration against British military bases at Cloghogue checkpoint outside Newry on Sunday will include the demolition of a `spypost'.

The large mock-up spypost will be demolished in a spectacular demonstration of people's feelings against the British bases which cover the area.

The demonstration is organised by the South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee and speakers include the Chairpersons of Louth County Council and Newry and Mourne Council, Micheál O'Donnell(Fianna Fáil) and Brendan Curran(Sinn Féin).

Other speakers include Sinn Fein TD Caomhighin O'Caolain, Kate Fearon of the Women's Coalition, Bernard Moffat, General Secretary of the Celtic League and an expert on health risks associated with low level radiation, as will Declan Fearon, Chairman of the SAFRC.

Marchers are to assemble at Killeen Bridge on the main Newry to Dundalk road, at 2pm.

According to Toni Carragher of SAFRC Cloghogue was chosen as the site of the demonstration because ``last year Mo Mowlam and RUC chief Ronnie Flanagan announced to the media that the Cloghogue checkpoint was coming down. In fact at the meeting with our group Mowlam told us that `as we speak' the checkpoint was being dismantled. This was for media consumption but the reality is that except for a corrugated shed the checkpoint has not been dismantled.

``Indeed there has been a marked increase in the number of British Army/RUC patrols on the ground and in the number of mobile checkpoints and helicopter flights,'' Mrs Carragher said.

Declan Fearon said there has been 3379 helicopter flights into Glassdrummond Lookout Post between 20 July 1997 and 16 January 1999.

South Armagh remains the most heavily militarised area in Western Europe. In an area just 15 miles by 10 miles there are more than twenty British Army bases and spypost supporting constant military patrols and hundreds of helicopter flights. Currently, South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee are examining evidence that clusters of cancer cases are being found in the areas around these bases.

South Armagh's 23,000 inhabitants are ``the most stopped, searched and spied-upon people on earth,'' said Declan Fearon. ``And all this is happening nine months after the Good Friday Agreement heralded a new dawn of peace in Ireland. Under the terms of the Agreement the British Government is supposed to have published their strategy for demilitarisation. Instead, construction work on spyposts is continuing and the people of South Armagh continue to suffer the ill effects of the British military presence.''

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