Republican News · Thursday 11 February 1999

[An Phoblacht]

US welcomes South Armagh Farmers and Residents

By Cari Zall

For the first time ever, the South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee (SAFRC) is touring the United States in an effort to educate Americans about the ongoing British military occupation of the border regions in the north of Ireland. On the East Coast, Toni Carragher and Maria Caraher have met massive support from all quarters of the American community.

The two SAFRC representatives spent their first four days in the New York/New Jersey area. They held a lengthy meeting with Congressman Peter King in his Long Island offices. Congressman King has already been a major supporter of the Committee's campaign against the militarisation of their area, and he encouraged them to continue educating the public and pressing the governments for answers. He also promised further help in bringing their issue to the forefront of his own meetings with political leaders in Ireland and England.

During their meeting, Congressman King received a phone call from President Clinton and was able to inform the President that he was currently with the SAFRC. He received a positive response from the President, who has vowed to continue this administration's involvement in the peace process.

They also met with Congressman Joseph Crowley in Queens, who was very enthusiastic about their campaign. He intends to visit Ireland this coming summer and hopes to travel to South Armagh to see for himself the conditions that continue to plague the residents there. A phone conference with Congressman Ben Gillman's office also produced positive results. The Committee discussed with him the upcoming April hearings before Congress on policing abuses. All three Congressmen were eager to have the Committee submit testimony to the record for those hearings, especially with regard to the current and ongoing abuses taking place in South Armagh.

Public meetings in Queens, the Bronx, northern New Jersey, as well as in Richmond and Baltimore have all produced tremendous support from Americans.

Meanwhile SAFRC Chair Declan Fearon has travelled to Dallas, Omaha and Forth Worth where he has spoken to large audiences in several venues.

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