Alarm at Army ‘night shoot’ at Magilligan

Warning sign at the MoD firing range in Magilligan
Warning sign at the MoD firing range in Magilligan

A Magilligan resident has expressed alarm at British soldiers who were on a “night shoot” in the area on Wednesday.

The man, who prefers not to be named, said the gun fire from the army range was “on and off”.

He said: “I’ve never heard it during the summer before; in winter yes, but it would stop at 10pm. For people in the caravans, it must have been so loud,” he said.

“Like I say, I’ve heard this before, but never at the height of the summer season when the caravan parks at Benone are packed.”

The man added: “When you’re trying to get a young child to sleep; well they shouldn’t be shooting at that time of night.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence confirmed a “live firing ‘night-shoot” did take place at Magilligan ranges between 2030hrs and 2315hrs.

“This training is mandatory and is a vital precursor to forthcoming training commitments in east-Africa. All relevant agencies and authorities were informed and are routinely kept informed of any activity.

“If anyone is concerned about any military activity in the area they should contact the NIO appointed Civilian Representative (Civ Rep),” said the MoD spokesperson.

Local councillors say Magilligan is not the right place for army activity to be taking place, especially at the height of summer.

Sinn Fein councillor Dermot Nicholl said: “This is not the place for this type of operation.

“If the MoD want to do this, surely there are plenty of ranges they could avail of in England.

“Beside an award-winning Blue Flag beach is not the place for it, on so many grounds, including local people and tourists visiting on their holidays, but who are being held to ransom by the MoD and, therefore, unable to enjoy the full visitor experience these shores have to offer.”

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan said: “As a tourist area, at the height of summer, this is definitely not conducive to how we want to promote tourism.

“Especially now we have the Foyle ferry up and running, we are trying to move away from this type of environment,” said Colr. Mullan.

The assemblyman added; “I intend to make enquiries with the MoD about their intentions for the future because we don’t want this to continue.”