The reality is that what we have seen in recent times has been, not the demilitarisation as promised, but the remilitarisation of the six-counties and a staggering increase in political policing and repression. Such militarisation and repression has been particularly intense just across the border in West and South Fermanagh. Just two years after we were supposed to have seen the last of the British army, British troops are mounting road-blocks, raiding homes and farms, intimidating and assaulting people and denying people access to their workplaces The skies above Fermanagh and Tyrone are also being used by Royal Air Force (RAF) and British army air corps pilots carrying out low-level night-time training as they prepare for postings in other war zones such as Afghanistan.
Amongst those suffering at their hands are political activists, including éirígí members engaged in peaceful protests and other legitimate political activity. A quick read through previous articles on this website will reveal a litany of such incidents, the latest being the stopping and searching of éirígí activists and supporters, on a sponsored walk and protest at a British army Intelligence and Communications post on Black Mountain on the outskirts of West Belfast. The PSNI operation against the 30 or so party supporters who took part in the walk and peaceful protest involved two helicopters, seven armoured jeeps, a number of unmarked cars and up to 30 PSNI riot personnel.
éirígí Fear Manach chairperson, Kevin Martin has expressed his outrage at the increasing level of British military activity in the county.
He said: "In recent months, undercover British soldiers, who are most likely attached to the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, have also been active at PSNI checkpoints and in raids in the county. Yet again we are witnessing the consequence of Britain's continued involvement in Ireland. Despite the claims that the British army was going with the ending of Operation Banner in 2007, it is obvious that they are here to stay."