Belfast Telegraph

Masked men's 'sinister' threats to Armagh forestry workers condemned by Sinn Fein

By Lesley Houston

Forestry workers have been threatened by masked men in an area of outstanding natural beauty in south Armagh.

Sub-contractors tasked to deal with trees affected by larch disease in the Ring of Gullion were told to leave and not return.

The threats have prompted Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Megan Fearon to call for an urgent meeting with senior forestry officials.

She condemned those behind the "sinister and frightening" threat and said workers had been left in fear for their safety.

"Any threat to people going about their work is an attack on the whole community," she said. "Those of us who live here in south Armagh are rightly outraged at these actions."

The Sinn Féin MLA called for an immediate lifting of the threat.

"The individual or individuals responsible for issuing this threat must lift it immediately," she demanded.

Slieve Gillion area Councillor Mickey Larkin has also spoken out against the menacing incident. He described the work being done to address the tree disease as "essential" and said the threat could disrupt the efforts to treat the trees.

He said the work would result in the closure of the main drive at Slieve Gullion park for safety reasons, including the movement of heavy machinery.

He added it was expected the road would however, re-open temporarily for the Easter period but would close again until mid-summer.

"I had hoped that inconvenience to local people and businesses in relation to this work would be kept as far as practically possible to a minimum, but this threat to workers has caused serious concerns".

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