The British Parachute presence in Crossmaglen is resented by the population of South Armagh.

'Seven Days' visits the townland of Crossmaglen in County Armagh to find out about the British army paratroopers, known to many locals as the unwanted occupiers of their village.

The British army has stopped taking down the tricolours flying over Crossmaglen. They found they could take one down alright but it was right back up again the following morning. The Queen's writ, according to the local people simply does not run here.

While the village looks like a peaceful spot, twenty one British soldiers have been killed within a two mile radius. The old RUC station is now a heavily fortified barracks for seventy five men of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment. 

The paratroopers see themselves as maintaining a presence in Crossmaglen, a town deep in republican territory. The paratroopers know every villager and the villagers recognise every one of them but utterly ignore them. This is the villager's answer to the paratrooper presence. 

They expect and they get nothing from the people.

There have been widespread allegations of harassment and brutality during spot checks. Locals claim that the paratroopers were acting very differently in front of the cameras during the filming of this report.  

The paratroopers believe that they are still the victims of their Bloody Sunday reputation and that the Catholics will never allow them to forget that. 

There is acknowledgement that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has what the Parachute Regiment calls,

The tacit support of a large percentage of the population, particularly because they can make expert use of the nearby border.

One local man describes the presence of the paratroopers.

The people around here resent any British troops being in Crossmaglen. They believe that they shouldn't be here at all.

This episode of 'Seven Days' was broadcast on 4 May 1973. The reporter is Sean Duignan.