16 December 1999 Edition

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Murphy slams Army hypocrites

Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin Assembly member for Newry and South Armagh, has called on Peter Mandelson to explain the British government's position on demilitarisation after it was revealed that the British army is continuing to build bases in South Armagh.

Murphy issued the challenge as the British army began extensive building work at a number of lookout posts and also started installing new surveillance equipment in recent weeks.

Toni Carragher of the South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee said that British military activity in the area was now at an ``all time high''. Murphy added that people in South Armagh are extremely angry about the increased activity.

``Throughout the peace process,'' he said, ``the British Army in South Armagh have been deliberately provocative. Their latest actions confirm their apparent contempt for the political progress that has been made.

``It must be asked what their agenda is and, more importantly, what is the agenda of their political masters, the British government. I would like to know from Peter Mandelson what is going on. Are his calls for submissions on demilitarisation simply a waste of time?''

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