New base opening hours criticised
New base opening hours criticised

The British government has been accused of reneging on a commitment to shut down a military barracks in west Belfast.

It was announced yesterday that Andersonstown barracks would be closing each night between 7pm and 7am from February 1. But this falls short of a previous claim that the base, which has been subjected to countless IRA attacks over the years, would be shut down.

West Belfast's three remaining barracks -- Grosvenor Road, New Barnsley and Woodbourne -- will continue to operate as normal.

Local Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson described the base as a ``blight'' on the area which provides no service for the local community.

``Its function is to spy on and intimidate the local population. The vast majority of people in West Belfast are demanding that this eyesore is removed from our community and the land used for regeneration purposes.''

Mr Ferguson said the closure of the base at night would be ``of little consequence as nobody living in this area visits it any way, night or day.

``It is my belief that the failure to close this base permanently is yet further evidence of the British government reneging on its commitments to demilitarise its war machine in our country.

``The decision will also clearly cause deep embarrassment for the SDLP whose local representative Alex Attwood announced last year the he has secured a commitment to close the base through his membership of the Policing Board. Clearly working from within flawed policing structures doesn't work and doesn't deliver.''

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© 2004 Irish Republican News