Call for police base to become tourist hostel
Call for police base to become tourist hostel

Republican protesters burst through the security gates of Andersonstown police station in west Belfast, which closed its doors yesterday in preparation for demolition next month.

A crowd of 100 Sinn Féin supporters held a protest outside as police chiefs inside spoke of the past and future plans for the west Belfast site.

The heavily-fortified barracks is on a prime location in the heart of west Belfast.

Sinn Féin has already suggested it should be turned into a hostel to encourage tourism in the area.

Standing on the pavement outside the barracks, Sinn Féin assembly member Michael Ferguson, who said he saw the inside of the station “many times”, said there would be “no tears shed” in west Belfast at its closure.

“Let’s not forget this is the base the Special Branch watch-ed from while they sent their agent Michael Stone to murder mourners at a funeral,” he said.

“It is also the paramilitary base where they tortured people and planned the raids on our constituents’ homes. Hopefully this will be the first of many acts of demilitarisation.”

All of the protesters left peacefully and no arrests were made.

* There has been an announcement that the British military base at Killymeal House, in Dungannon, is to close within six months.

It has also been reproted that 500 troops have been withdrawn from the North as part of new troop deployments. It means around 10,500 British troops are left in the occupation of the Six Counties.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News