12 January 2006

Decommissioned: Spy post set to go


by Roisin McManus

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The watchtower at Woodbourne barracks is set to be dismantled, the Andersonstown News can reveal.

Work to dismantle the spy post is set to begin in the next few weeks and it is expected that the work will be completed by March.

The news follows last week’s report in the Andersonstown News that British army accommodation was removed from the site.

Two Portacabins used by the British army as accommodation were removed from the site last week.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the tower was to be decommissioned and said that the work would take place in the next few weeks, although he could not give an exact date when the work would start.
The spokesman said that the watchtower is the last of the British military structures and equipment at Woodbourne.

“Work will start soon to take the tower down and this should be completed by the end of March,” said the MoD spokesman.

“Work has already been carried out to remove Portacabins at Woodbourne and this main body of work will see the tower being taken down.

“When the watchtower goes that is all the British army structures and equipment removed from Woodbourne,” he added.

Upper Falls Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Browne welcomed the news.
“I would welcome any progress in British army demilitarisation,” said Councillor Browne.

“To be perfectly honest anything short of the removal of all military trappings from this barracks will not satisfy local people.

“Eight years on from the Good Friday Agreement, and particularly against the backdrop of the recent IRA weapons initiative, the Upper Falls community fully expects the British government to honour its commitments in relation to demilitarisation.

“If Britain's war in this part of West Belfast is over then all of its military apparatus must go,” he added.

Councillor Browne said it is now important that land used by the military is used to the advantage of local people.

“Peace and stability will certainly not be served by retaining trappings of conflict that continue to serve as a painful reminder of the campaign waged against the local community by the British military and RUC.

“It is essential that these trappings are now expeditiously dismantled and that the land on which they sit is used to the advantage of local people,” added Councillor Browne.

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

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