News Letter

Security Barriers May Be Scrapped

Tuesday 15th June 2004

THE Government is considering scrapping a number of town centre security barriers - a feature of life in many areas during the Troubles, it has emerged.

A programme of removals could start as early as autumn this year.

The gates were swung open after the terrorist ceasefires were declared in the 1990s.

During the Troubles the security gates, which ringed major towns, were often closed at night and also shut in the late 1990s at times of increased threat from bombers.

Now the Government is considering taking many of them away altogether.

The Northern Ireland Office has started a review of all town centre security barriers and has already contacted local councils for their views.

In a letter to councillors, Cathy Clements, Private Secretary to Security Minister Ian Pearson, said any decisions to remove barriers will be taken after a security assessment by the PSNI and the Government is currently liaising with the police on the matter.

The letter added: "The Minister is conscious that any programme of barrier removal will impact, to varying degrees, upon each town and felt it appropriate to provide early communication of the review.

"It must be stressed that at this stage no firm decisions have been made on the way forward, although the Minister is hopeful that a programme of barrier removal can commence as early as autumn this year."

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