Prominent visitors witness South Armagh militarisation
South Armagh is a focus of international attention not due to its
picturesque landscape but to the fact that it is the most
militarised area in all of Western Europe. This year has seen
many prominent US and Canadian politicians, lawyers and observers
visit the area to witness what locals have to endure all year
Several sponsored tours to the United States and Canada by Declan
Fearon and Toni Carragher, chairperson and secretary/PRO,
respectively, of the South Armagh Small Farmers and Residents
Committee (SAFRC), have proved productive, creating an interest
in North America about occupied South Armagh.
This past week has seen visits by US Congressman Donal Payne,
President of the Irish American Unity Conference Jim Gallagher
and three retired US Army judges, Brigadier General Jim Cullen,
Brigadier General Richard O'Meara and Colonel Dennis Geoghan.
The influential visitors, currently on the Garvaghy Road as
international observers, contacted SAFRC, prior to their arival
to schedule a visit to South Armagh, take a tour of the area and
witness the further heavy deployment of British troops and RUC
and the military installations that festoon the area. Meetings
where held to discuss the effects the Crown forces have had on
the farming industry, tourism and economic investment. Also
discussed was the potential health threat posed by the radiation
emitted from surveillance and infra-red cameras.
Several bus tours, arranged by John Fogarty and John Fitzgerald
of the Irish Ameerican Unity Conference are taking place this
month. A delegation from Canada, including Canadian
parliamentarians, will arrive later this week.
The South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee has welcomed
these visits. Spokesperson Toni Carragher said they would
continue to do ``everything within our power to expose to the
world at large the extent of British and RUC occupation in our
area, which seriously breaches the terms of the Good Friday