23 May 2002 Edition

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Glenhull family helicopter ordeal

Mid-Tyrone Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Clarke says that a Glenhull family in the parish of Greencastle were subjected to a frightening ordeal when a British Army helicopter hovered at an extremely low level in front of and over the roof of their home for over one hour on Saturday night.

"The ordeal has left the family in an extremely distressed state," said Clarke. "A granddaughter who was staying in the home on the night was in hysterics because of the deafening noise. The house was literally shaking and at one point the helicopter hovered just feet off the ground in front of the house with British soldiers pointing their weapons into the home through the open door of the helicopter.

"The helicopter also landed beside the house on two occasions, in the process destroying small trees valued at £1,400, which had be planted to meet planning requirements for the construction of an adjacent dwelling for the family's daughter and son-in-law.

"People in the surrounding area are totally incensed at the ordeal inflicted on this family and are scathing of the massive upsurge in PSNI and British military harassment.

"On Sunday night, a large number of British Army personnel dressed in riot gear and backed up with members of the PSNI assembled at Creggan crossroads and stopped cars. Given the fact that many people using the road at the time were returning from the Tyrone/Armagh Championship match, it seems that this heavy-handed presence was solely designed to engineer a confrontation with local people. Thankfully, they did not rise to the bait.

"There is growing anger in Mid-Tyrone that local people are being treated with such contempt and hostility by both the British military and PSNI, especially given the fact that we are now eight years into the Peace Process. Where is the peace dividend? Where is the demilitarisation that we were promised? Whose agenda is being played out here?"

An Phoblacht
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