Government scaling down security measures

The big news yesterday was the cutting of British Army strengths and the remaindering of the home sections of the RIR (formerly the UDR, which attracted up to 18% Catholic recruits in its earliest days). The second decision in particular has attracted, major criticism. However, it was expected in most political quarters.

  • Doreen

    But hardly before the IRA had verifiably left the scene!

  • circles

    and nobody had expected the IRA to go before the security forces / loyalist gangs left the scene – but there you go – everybody is going – apart from the loyalists.

    I wonder if somebody wouldn’t have a word with them – like the people the voted for, for example.

  • Conor

    It is a great thing that the RIR loyalist regiments are disbanding without the IRA around what are they supposed to do anyway Big Ian?

  • andrew

    Conor even post demiliterisation the reality is there will be a military presence of around 5000 in Northern Ireland. Surely it would be more cost effective to have the RIR soldiers who live and are already housed in Northern Ireland to fulfil this role.

  • andrew

    Conor even post demiliterisation the reality is there will be a military presence of around 5000 in Northern Ireland. Surely it would be more cost effective to have the RIR soldiers who live and are already housed in Northern Ireland to fulfil this role.

  • spirit-level

    “wonder if somebody wouldn’t have a word with them – like the people the voted for, for example” Good point, but not with the Doc around it won’t happen. I once heard him boast that he had 170,000 under his belt. He’s the Godfather.
    Unfortunately because of the “banality of evil” its not guidance through fatherly love, its total control through fear. Sad, brainwashing?

  • Jo

    Doreen et al:

    Look at the timetable – 2 years for the RIR -surely thats enough time for verification?

    I’ll say it again – the planned security changes are contingent on what the IRA does. End of story.

  • Advisor

    I think you miss the point about remaining garrison.

    They are not there to defend Northern Ireland as such. NI is unlikely to be attacked from external sources and if the internal dissent has been dealt with there is no need for home services battalions.

    The threats to the United Kingdom are external, which is why any member of the British Army has to be prepared to serve worldwide.

  • spirit-level

    DUP lists its terms for talks progress
    As it happens Jo, the DUP are right on the Water Charges this morning.. Have they seen the light?

  • idunnomeself

    I don’t really see the issue, what do the RIR do anyway nowadays? I remember lots of checkpoints and patrols, haven’t seen one for years.

    Why are my taxes being spent on them now?

    If we don’t need them we shouldn’t be paying for them, it’s that simple.

  • Jo

    Excellent stuff on water charging.

    Fair play and credit where it is due, as long as it isnt just populist posturing.

  • The Dog

    As long as the DUP don’t take the arm out of it on the RIR severance package – it time to start debating the peace dividend.

    The Brits spend something like £800 million to £1 billion a year on the Britsih army garrison here. Make quick cuts to that and then release some of that money back into the system.

    On an almost daily basis there are announcements about money being made available in England for a,b,c – the £460 million for the expansion of after schools and breakfast clubs in England was a great example – no new money here for this worthwhile initiative here just cuts to services.

    Say releasing an aditional £100 million in year 1 – i.e straight away match funded by another £25 mil from dublin and £25 mil direct from the Brit exchequer – an immediate aditional £150 mil for year 1 and then sunsequent increases in year 2 – maybe £300 – upto an annual additional sum of 4 or 500 mil per year (on top of the Barnett formula block grant) to support the new political context would not solve everything difference but would it would make a difference.

    We could drop the water charges, stop the inflation busting rates hikes, do something meaningful about fuel poverty, do something about adult illiteracy – tackle inequality issues particualrly for the disabled, start to do something about the neglect and lack of investment in the NorthWEst . . . . maybe there are too many priorities but a significant dividend from the winding down of the Brit war machine over and above the block grant would make a difference.

    Now the DUP say they need a return of the instituions less than anyone else. But this is not a good anaylsis, as has been pointed out by others, republicans I supect would love this situation.

    More and More all-Ieland agenda leading to more evidence of its benefits, less resistance to unity, greater momentum – more SF votes, greater southern representation, fuirhter local government growth.

    wow, you almost hope the DUP are that stupid (but I doubt it).

  • spirit-level

    The Dog
    you’re right.. and remember it always was a false border, a temporary solution at best to protect Northern Prods, from what I don’t know, the tide has turned, and all the benefits you list are there to be had, at the touch of a button should the DUP wish. Its just the vexed question of identity that’s holding progress up.
    Roy Hattersley:
    A united Ireland is inevitable

  • The Dog


    good link – ashamed i missed it – thanks

    good line “They realise that the war is won because time and logic are on the side of Irish unity. All they have to do is wait.”

    But how do we try and cut down the lenght of wait. The DUP threats – while a bit stupid (never get yopurself into a fight that is already lost)don’t do anyone any good.

    If want to look for the negative we can always find it – and yes it looks as if the rain is just about to start.

    But the half full half empty argument doesn’t get us any further down the road.

    I think that is a fundamental difference in the way that unionists and republicans approach all of this – i.e a settlement vs a process of resolution.

    The debate on the causes of conflict is onethat i think needs to begin somewhere.

  • circles

    Thanks for the link S-L.
    Old Roy does have a point all the same – even if he is an old labour has-been.

  • DaithiO

    That is a good link, MICK any chance we could open that up as a new link on the front page ?

  • spirit-level

    I don’t expect the DUP to roll over and let SF tickle their bellies, but they have to stop barking at some point. I’ve no doubt the British and Irish Govt’s can manage this.
    Newsnow Irish Peace
    A great place for minute by minute updates.
    Now I won’t be able to beat you to it anymore 😉

  • spirit-level

    Guys I sent the link to Gonzo to post, but maybe he’s away, or its just too green for him to post!

  • BogExile

    It’s almost a shame to interrupt this dewy – eyed republican love-in. How do we cut down the length of the wait. Perhaps you might reduce it to 700 years or so by confronting the reality that the longed for sectarian tipping point is all and won’t ever be reached. This leaves you with the task of convincing the pro-British majority that their interests are in an all-Ireland dimension. You’ll have your work cut out for you base your arguments in a contemptuous dismissal of their legitimacy. I think that’s how fascism started, chaps. Enjoy.

  • Pumpkinsboy

    Also check out Lionel Shriver’s piece in the Guardian to see how wrong Hattersley is.

  • Pumpkinsboy
  • spirit-level

    You can pump yourself up all you like with that link, but it doesn’t amount to more than a hill of beans, its just a backward-looking rant. Sooner or later that kind of nonsense just will not pass for political debate.
    Politics is about Power.
    Power is about Will.
    Will is about Persuasion.
    If you’re not persuaded of the merits now, that’s fine Vote NO in a referendum. But as we haven’t even had face to face talks, let alone a debate on Irish Unity, your comments are premature at best. All the best!

  • spirit-level

    I respect your vote, but have to tell you that I’m after it.. That’s all right isn’t it?
    Let’s play:

  • slug

    Could they knock down Divis tower when they are up there? Its an eyesore!

  • spirit-level

    slug its better than that check:
    “DUP lines up with its own conditions”

  • looking in

    Whilst I find it hard to appreciate the civil function that home-RIR have provided in NI all that can be said is that there is plenty of opportunity for proper soldiering in the British Army. IIRC most regiments are under-strength – if the love of all thing British is paramount to those supporting RIR then I’m sure OC’s in RIR will be delighted to arrange transfers to front-line battalions on the duty cylcle for Iraq/Afganistan for foreseeable future.

    Thought Tim Collins gave very good synopsis this a.m. on R4 Today. When decomissioning comes about – job-done – cease to exist – and anyway we have an armed and significantly larger police force (per capita) than rest of UK – for 30K p.a. they can do the coppering..

  • BogExile

    Let’s play:


    Well, I’ll give you Coalisland in exchange for the Clougher Valley:)

    Post-Nationalist Ireland need not be a cold house for Unionists. Despite the ‘they’ll buckle under’ merchants nobody sensible north or south wants Kosovo with nice beaches which is ultimately what you’ll get if the pro-british community are abandoned. Even 1% of that alienated North Eastern minority could create havoc North and South and leve the rest on the Golf course.

    If Unity morphed into a genuinely autonomous federal solution with say a 10 year lead in and very specific rights afforded to protect the pro-british identity – dual nationality etc, you might have a long-term runner that will outlast the current crop of orange and green headbangers.

    Otherwise, I’ll give you Stewartstown but you’ll have to clear out of Castlederg altogether. knight to Bishop 4

  • G2

    “Conor even post demiliterisation the reality is there will be a military presence of around 5000 in Northern Ireland. Surely it would be more cost effective to have the RIR soldiers who live and are already housed in Northern Ireland to fulfil this role”


    The 5000 remaning soldiers would be full time servicemen in Ceneral Service battalions. like there is are other parts of the UK, Whose main job would be training for service in IRAQ, NATO or UN peace keeping duties overseas service.

    The RIR three home service battalions (3000) are only part time servicemen.and do not fulfill the role of general service.

    Normal peace time does not require such type of soldiering in the UK. Unlike the US the UK does not have a permanent National Guard for continous home time service.

    Throughout British military history, such regiments like the part time UDR and the RIR are only created temporary. Because the recent troubles in Northern Ireland have lasted 35 years some Unionist politicans think they should be a permanent. structure.