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Troops Pull Out of South Armagh

As one watched the troops pulling out of South Armagh this weekend past, one couldn’t help but ask the question; how is this the right time for troop withdrawal? The people of South Armagh have experienced some of the worst bloodshed, intimidation and criminality in Northern Ireland, at the hands of the IRA.

We question the timing of this move given the level of criminality and the scale of multi-million pound racketeering operations still ongoing in the region. In recent weeks we have also seen serious public disorder, with troops, police and residents being subjected to intimidation and rioting. We have also seen Republicans stand and cheer at injured soldiers who were involved in a helicopter crash. They chanted “hope they’re dead” as paramedics tended to them. This is history repeating itself, as some of the same Republicans jeered and applauded when soldiers were murdered and injured by the IRA before the ceasefire.

It is shocking to think that in this current atmosphere of active Republican activity in South Armagh, the decent law-abiding people have been left to the mercy of these thugs once again. This happened once before, even after the authorities were made aware of ongoing Republican activity. It was only when innocent people were murdered, that the troops came back again. The then Secretary of state, Merlyn Rees apologised to the people of South Armagh for not having the troops back in quick enough to stop IRA killings. We will not accept such an apology again, as everyone is totally aware of ongoing Republican activity.

It looks like the innocent law-abiding people of South Armagh are once again at the mercy of Republican thugs. We call for this decision to be overturned and for troops to protect those under threat in South Armagh.


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