Farmer gets bill for British Army base

A 69-year-old south Armagh farmer has been landed with a tax bill for land adjacent to his property occupied by the British Army.

Terry O’Hare said he got the shock of his life when he opened a final demand for payment of #7,448.47 within 10 days or face “legal proceedings”.

Mr O’Hare was expressly being charged rates for an “army base” on a remote mountain top near the border.

He said there had been a British army surveillance post on the land but it was removed about three months ago. He said he had no connections that he knew of to the specific plot of land - Mountain Road in Camlough - which the Rate Collection Agency cited in their correspondence with him.

“I have no idea why this was sent to me,” Mr O’Hare said. “I have never had dealings with any address on Mountain Road.”

The mountain was considered common ground until it was taken over by the British Army for surveillance and other military purposes.

“I would have property leading up to it but so would 10 or 12 other people. I just don’t know why this was sent to me.”

Sinn Féin councillor Turlough Murphy has asked the Rate Collection Agency to explain why Mr O’Hare received the bill in the first place.

“This has caused the landowner in question serious trauma and concern,” he said.

“It would be interesting to know who has been paying the ‘business’ rates for the military surveillance post.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News