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Intelligence and counterintelligence

MI5: Certificate of the Secretary of State
The British Army
Military Operations
in Northern Ireland

(Official UK MoD information)
The British Army in Northern Ireland
Army posts being removed
BBC News Friday, 2 June, 2000
Usually unknown
farmers and residents
of South Armagh

MUST SEE: Towers of silence
The British Military Garrison in Ireland (September 1st 1994)

The following is a brief summarisation of the British Army / RUC Military Bases, Barracks, & Out Posts in the immediate South Armagh Area. All are heavily fortified with surveillance and infra red camera equipment. All the bases detailed below contain purpose built helicopter landing pads.

Cloughogue VCP on main Newry / Dublin road.

Two Look Out Posts situated on Cloughogue mountain. Permanent vehicle checkpoint with search centre was removed on week commencing 8th December 1997 so as to facilitate the DOE road service. However, still manned by British Army/RUC. Some 30 surveillance & infra-red camera's have been erected in addition to those already present.

The view from the train on the Belfast / Dublin Route at Cloghogue

Three Look Out Posts situated on Faughil mountain which take up approximately 25 acres of land. Some 29 surveillance & infra-red cameras erected, with 14 cameras permanently trained on the inhabitants in the South of Ireland, with the remaining 15 trained on the people of South Armagh. Raw sewage seeps freely down the mountain side into streams, which flows into rivers etc. Water is used for human consumption. Prior to cease-fire, there was only one small Look Out Post. Would now be considered the largest Look Out Post site in South Armagh.

Massive joint British Army/RUC barracks purposely built adjacent to Forkhill Primary school. Cargo being carried by British Army/RUC helicopters, has fallen onto school playground, in the past. Two Look Out Posts on Carrive mountain with surveillance cameras. Two Look Out Posts & large military base on Carrickasticken mountain. Again, raw sewage seeps freely from the later base.
(These military installations are all in a 1 mile radius of each other.)

Forkhill Village

Glassdrummond Base
Bunker positions at the bottom of the tower with pallets of building supplies in the 

Two large Look Out Posts situated on 30 acres of prime land which was confiscated from the owner in May 1986. Again, many surveillance & infra-red cameras erected, with two at road. As early as March 1999, refurbishment & expansion was being carried out at this site by the British army. In the past, there has also been problems with raw sewage, similar to that as above.

The main lookout post in Glassdrummond.
Drumuckavall Hilltop

One large & one smaller Look Out Post erected practically on the South Armagh & Louth border, not any more than 100 yards from an elderly couples home. An elderly widow living on her own was forced to leave her property several years ago, due to continued seepage of raw sewage, which still persists. Again, many surveillance & infra-red cameras installed. Major enhancement work has been carried out, off late.

Crievekeeran Hilltop

Again, one large & one smaller Look Out Post erected on prime farm land confiscated from its owner in May 1986. Again, seepage of raw sewage evident, & enhancement work has been ongoing for several months now. The owner of the property has had to seek alternative employment, due to his farmland being deceased by 15 acres.

Crossmaglen Town

Massive joint British Army/RUC military barracks built in centre of Crossmaglen town, adjacent to private homes, Crossmaglen GFC grounds & St Josephs High school. The base is actually adjoined onto one home-owner's private property. Other home owners have had large parts of their gardens confiscated so as to accommodate the building of this fortified base. Four Look Out Posts attached to the barracks. Land belonging to the Crossmaglen Rangers Club was also confiscated some 27years ago, and too date is still retained by the British Army & the RUC respectively. This has greatly effected the development of the GAA Club & its grounds.

Crossmaglen Square. Lislea Mountain

Two large Look Out Posts dominate this mountain top. Again, since the cease-fire, major work has been carried out, greatly increasing the size of this base. Nestled below this monstrosity is the Lislea Catholic church and homes.

Camlough Mountain

Three large Look Out Posts are situated on this picturesque siting overlooking Camlough village & Camlough lake resulting in tourism potential being thwarted. As late as March 1999, major refurbishment was being carried, increasing the base by 30%. Extra surveillance & Infra-red cameras have also been erected.

GAA Players take to the field amid British Army Activity in the base behind the goals. Bessbrook Village

Bessbrook village reputedly, houses the largest British military barracks with the busiest helicopter port in Western Europe. This base is nestled in the centre of Bessbrook, surrounded by homes, schools, an Old People's home, in addition to private homes. This base is jointly operated & manned by the British Army & the RUC. Whilst the permanent vehicle check points, on all five roads leading into Bessbrook were removed in January 1999, this has resulted in intensified foot-patrolling & Landrover activity in the village. The stopping & searching is now at an all time high. Upwards on a thousand surveillance & infra-red cameras cover the entire village, with extra cameras having been installed quite recently.

The British Army in Northern Ireland The British Army
in Northern Ireland

      (Source: UK Ministry of Defense)

The Army's presence in support of the RUC can take many forms, all of which interlink, and are coordinated with the RUC. These include foot patrols, mobile patrols and patrols inserted by helicopter, aerial observation, snap vehicle checkpoints, patrol bases and observation posts. Many of these duties involve the Army in supporting and protecting police officers in their daily tasks. These can range from large-scale operations such as those involving the police anti-racketeering squad, to providing protection for refurbishment work on police stations and army bases as well as everyday tasks such as serving summonses and community policing. Cross border liaison is the responsibility of the RUC and Gardai.

VEHICLE CHECKPOINTS AND PATROL BASES. In addition to the patrols which deploy by foot and helicopter in the border area, the Army maintain Patrol Bases close to the border. These form another strand in the policy of deterring or apprehending the terrorist. The Bases offer increased security for the soldiers within them, and provide secure locations from which to mount patrols. All border crossing points have been re-opened since the IRA ceasefire in 1994, and remain so today.

OBSERVATION TOWERS. The military have constructed a large number of observation posts and towers throughout the province which provide the security forces with another means of deterring and detecting the movement of terrorists. The height of the towers provides the security forces with the ability to observe movement over a wide area. High technology vision aids, such as image intensifiers and infra-red (IR) light (ordinary white light with IR filters added), give the soldiers in these towers and other observation posts a very effective day and night observation capability. The relatively small number of trained soldiers needed to man the towers can, in the carefully selected areas they have been placed, provide a more effective coverage of an area than patrols alone.

NAVAL PATROLS. The Royal Navy extends the principle of patrolling the border areas to Northern Ireland's coastal waters and to those of Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle. Regular seaborne patrols are mounted in these waters and close relations maintained with the RUC in order to prevent Loyalist or Republican terrorists moving arms and personnel into Northern Ireland by sea. Such co-operation can be in the form of combined operations; for example, RUC officers landed by the Royal Navy on the coast or offshore islands in order to conduct searches for terrorist weapons.

    Source: UK Ministry of Defense
Newtownhamilton Town

Large joint British Army & RUC barracks erected in centre of town amid homes, shopping area & schools etc. Currently being re-built, with large Look Out Posts adjacent.


A new large joint British Army & RUC barracks replaced the previous one, last year. Two Look Out Posts with surveillance & infra-red cameras erected surround same.


Joint British Army & RUC barracks erected in the town of Middletown, which straddles the Louth Armagh & Louth border. A purpose built search centre is in operation. Look Out Posts surround the barracks, search centre, with an additional one erected on a hill overlooking the area.

  Helicopter Flights

Mr Henry McElroy, a prominent committee member has recorded 3,789 helicopter flights into the Glassdrummond Look Out Post alone, since the second IRA cease-fire, 20th July 1997. There has been as many as nine helicopter's in the air at any one time. Despite Ronnie Flanagan's, & Mo Mowlam's statement that only one helicopter is in the air at any one time, today , in South Armagh, as many as five will fly together.

  Expenditure Budget allocated to the "Security Forces"

The expenditure allocated to the security forces for year ending July 1998 was 1,435 million. This does not include the wage roll for the RUC that has been disclosed at 658 million. A projected figure of 1,430 has been allocated for the forthcoming twelve months. Since August 1997, 76 million has been spent on building & re-building new Army/RUC barracks, throughout the North of Ireland, & refurbishing & expanding the Look Out Posts, some which have increased on upwards on 50% in size, particularly in the South Armagh area. Figures released, determine that a further 59 million has been allocated for the forthcoming twelve months. This is the response from the British Government, the British Army, the RUC and the Northern Ireland Office to the cease-fire, the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the current Peace Talks process.

South Armagh Farmers & Residents Committee