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08-01-2005, 10:35 AM #1Web Hosting Master
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Critic asks/News :: N Ireland-based battalions to be disbanded. Halving of troops.
Article extract >>
The Northern Ireland-based battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment are to be disbanded as part of the Army response to the IRA ending its armed campaign.
The Army will end its support role to the police on 1 August 2007, the same day that the battalions will disband.
More than 3,000 soldiers serve in the battalions, many of them part-time.
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain set out a two-year plan on demilitarisation which he said would be contingent on the security situation.
Under the security normalisation plans, Army observation posts will be closed and police stations will be defortified.
Mr Hain also announced on Monday that troop levels in the province would fall from 10,500 to 5,000 in two years time.
The government also aims to repeal within two years counter terrorist laws particular to Northern Ireland if everything goes according to plan.
Mr Hain said: "The programme published today will see the creation of an environment which will allow the return of conventional policing across Northern Ireland."
The Royal Irish Regiment was formed in 1992, with the merger of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment.
The Army's general officer commanding, Lieutenant General Sir Reddy Watt said: "The Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service) and their predecessors, the Ulster Defence Regiment, have played a crucial role in creating the enabling environment for normalisation to begin.
"Once the Police Service of Northern Ireland no longer needs routine military support, the three Home Service battalions will have successfully completed the task for which they were raised."
The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson condemned the decision.
"This decision has come as an absolute bombshell," Mr Donaldson said. "I'm absolutely devastated by this news."
One serving RIR soldier said he first heard he was likely to lose his job on the radio and had not been informed by his superiors.
He described the decision and the way it was handled as "disgraceful".
Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey described the move as "deplorable".
"The decision to disband the home battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment is reckless and premature," he added.
End extract <<
For full article/further info & links :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4734747.stm
More details on the demilitarisation plans :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4733363.stm
Reaction :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4735113.stm
I was part mad, part disappointed when i heard about this. Wer'e making all these concessions and unilaterally scaling back our military presence far too quickly, the scale of it is too big also in my view. I can understand some of it but all this. And then this damned Labour government sneakin anotehr defence cut in through the back door, disgraceful.
Is it all so we can get it finised in time for Tony Blair's departure from No 10?
I dunno, is it just me who thinks we need t see some action along with the words from last week befre we go this far?
Last edited by Critic; 08-01-2005 at 10:44 AM.The 9 words of life quote -
"Act with honour, seek justice, die true, remembered well."
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