British Army seals off rural road
British Army seals off rural road

The British Direct Ruler in the North, Owen Paterson, has used his ‘executive power’ to permanently seal off a road in County Down near a British Army base.

Part of the Shore Road in Ballykinler will only be open to emergency services and anyone who has successfully sought permission from the Crown forces.

A 300lb car bomb found in nearby Castlewellan last year was believed to be intended for an attack on the base.

Republican armed group Oglaigh na hEireann claimed responsibility for the attack.

About 200m of the road has been closed off, following what was described as a “security review” carried out by the PSNI police.

Part of the road was closed previously for a period during the height of the conflict.

The British government’s Justice and Security Act of 2007, which is applicable solely to the Six Counties, gives the British Army permanent powers to requisition property. This power had previously only been available to the British Army under emergency legislation.

eirigi General Secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith has said the requisitioning of the south Down road by the British army is proof of the “abnormal nature” of the British presence in the Six Counties.

Mr Mac Cionnaith said: “The disruptive nature of the British army presence in the Six Counties can be seen again with the closure of the Shore Road in Ballykinler. This closure should be seen for what it is: a declaration of intent on the part of the British government to protect its occupation by any means deemed necessary.

“Three years ago, we were told that, with the ending of Operation Banner, the role of the British army in Ireland was effectively at an end. Yet here we are in 2010 and the British army is seizing and closing an Irish road to everyone but the Crown Forces.

“The establishment parties who support the current dispensation in the Six Counties have been extremely quiet in the face of this clear act of aggression on the part of the British government. Perhaps the litany of false dawns they have proclaimed has shamed them into silence.”

Mr Mac Cionnaith added: “The British army’s malign involvement in Ireland cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. Now, more than ever, republicans should begin organising themselves for renewed resistance to the British occupation.”

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