People in the border town of Crossmaglen have dismissed the official version of a shooting in the town last week.
According to the British army, a member of the notorious Parachute Regiment fired two shots at a car which they saw drove through a joint police and military border checkpoint on Saturday morning.
A PSNI spokeswoman claimed that the checkpoint had been set up as part of an anti-drink driving campaign and that no injuries have been reported. It is understood that the shooting is currently under investigation by both the police and the army.
However, this account has been challenged by local SInn Féin Councillor Terry Hearty, who claims that it is only a matter of time before the British Army’s “wild west” and “trigger happy” attitude in South Armagh leads to a fatality.
“Since the arrival of the Parachute Regiment in the Crossmaglen area there has been a marked increase in checkpoints, patrols and harassment of local nationalists, particularly young people,” Councillor Hearty said.
“I’m convinced that they’re trying to provoke a confrontation with local people in order to further destabilise an already difficult political situation.
“People in Crossmaglen are hugely sceptical of the claims that a car drove through a checkpoint in the town on Saturday morning. In the recent past, we have documented cases of people being waved through these checkpoints only for British soldiers to take pot shots at them as they drove away.”
Councillor Hearty added that Conor Murphy, the Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, will raise the matter with the British Government.