End to Royal Irish patrols…

THERE will be no more RIR patrols in Northern Ireland, marking the end of the controversial regiment’s service here – the longest deployment in the British Army’s history. However, non-Home Service troops are currently still in Afghanistan.

  • Charles Bronson

    Once less band of vicious killers on the street, no matter what name they go by.

  • Jo

    Last night BBC News described this as being a “sad day” for members/former members. I don’t quite see it that way.

    What is “sad” about the days of being out all hours in all weathers, fearful of attack either on or, (more likely), off-duty; all the time knowing that your actual impact on the security situation was completely marginal; that in fact the threat to you and yours is now gone (hopefully) for a generation; that those who want to stay in the Army can pop over to Iraq anty time and those who dont will get a generous severance package?

    Sad day? Several birthdays all at once more like it!

    And note: I have expressed no political grievance with the organisation.

  • Elements of 1 RIR are currently in Afganistan and the Home Service batallions have (maybe) outlasted the threat they were designed to counter. Could it be I’m agreeing with Jo?

  • Ulster still British

    Well done lads – time to put your feet up and spend that well earned pay-off.

    A job well done defeating the IRA – Northern ireland still part of the UK.

    Whats the IRA gained 🙂

  • na

    Are they still getting paid for doing no work? Just sitting around with no prospect of ever being required to do anything while waiting for a severance package?

    They could retrain as MLAs.

  • DUPpastSINNFEINfuture

    Good riddance.

  • inuit_goddess

    Well done to the present and past soldiers of the Royal Irish and Ulster Defence Regiment. Their bravery and sacrifice has made today possible.

    Today marks another step forward for Northern Ireland becoming a normal region of the UK.

  • Cahal

    Will the 15% of UDR men who are also in the UVF be getting a severence package?

    Glad to see them gone. One less group to cause trouble when 50%+1 happens.

    The brits need to make sure they get all of the guns off them and none go ‘missing’ as they have so often in the past.

  • lib2016


    The last significant unionist powerbase is being disbanded or has been taken over, even the Orange Order has it’s MI5 representative(s) installed at the top.

    The ‘long wait’ is nearly over.

  • Ulster still British

    Yeah yeah lib2016 is that what the double agents Martin and Gerry are telling you.

    30yrs couldn’t defeat us and NI will still be British in another 30yrs.

    Can’t wait for the Queen to visit Dublin – you never know the south might want her Queen as Head of State again 🙂

  • CS Parnell

    Another triumph for the politics of the SDLP. That was the party that got them off the streets, not the Shinners, not the DUP.

  • Cahal

    The SDL who?
    I didn’t realise they still existed. :>)

  • MacLiam

    “Whats the IRA gained?”

    What they set out to achieve in the first place, equal rights for Catholics in Northern Ireland.

    “Brits out” was a secondary objective to begin with, but then they got too big for their boots.

  • ud ha ha ha

    Short and sweet. The UDR were a cynical device to replace the b-men. replacing like with like. They reassured the unionist population and amply filled the wads of those that joined up and they are getting a big pay off too. Boo fecking Hoo.
    To be quite honest they scared the shite out of us border catholics with their dodgy checkpoints in the dark of night and there wholly unabridged sectarianism. They were also a little unlucky as far as every time they lost something vis-a-vis the catholic community it found its way to the ufff/uvf/lvf/ov or whoever.The UK government is pulling out little by little..25 years maybe but not much more. Contingency plans by Unionists..nah dont think so. There are none so blind as them that can not see etc etc

  • Belfast Gonzo

    They could retrain as MLAs.

    Errrrmmmm… several already have.

    Jeffrey Donaldson, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Oliver Gibson, Michael Copeland, and probably a few others.

    It’s not unusual for former servicemen to enter politics, in any country.

  • Ulster still British

    Oh i thought it was a United Ireland maybe they’ve gave that up Or is Teaspoon ( aka Martin ) telling you it’s still going to happen 🙂

    Don’t forget if the need arises we can always call the RIR back for active service + we have the 1st Battalion still !!

    No decommissioning of their weapons !!

  • Dec

    No decommissioning of their weapons !!

    Unless of course the UDA and UVF actually decommission their weapons; then we’ll have thousands of UDR/RIR weapons of the streets.

    However, good news for all, not least uppity Nationaist councillors in rural areas and touring showbands.

  • Harry

    Why were they ‘patrolling’ still? The GFA stated that all British Army had to remain in their bases. Yet some years after it the brits started running these ‘patrols’ again around various places. That was a breach of faith and against the spirit and, I thought, the letter of the agreement.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Slan Abhaile to the Ul Do Rightlys!!

  • Harry

    “The GFA stated that all British Army had to remain in their bases”

    My arse it does.

  • Harry

    Well, it was clear around the time of the agreement that british soldiers were to be pulled back to base. This was the understanding that was given to the nationalist community. Years later we have the britis still helicoptering patrols into rural areas and army patrols in urban areas across northern ireland. This is seen as goalpost-shifting and a sign of bad faith. Provocative pushiness, in fact.

  • Pete Baker

    “This was the understanding that was given to the nationalist community.”

    Perhaps, Harry, you need to look at who you got that understanding from?

    And then ask yourself why those individuals/groups promoted that mis-understanding?

  • Harry

    can we agree that a nod and a wink to you and the nationalist community (from I know not whom) is a long way from “the GFA stated that all British Army had to remain in their bases”?

    Welcome to the “Process”.

  • Harry

    That’s not good enough. An oppressive army presence after 10 years of peace is outrageous and uncalled for and a deliberate provocation,. Not to mention a blatant example of bad faith.

    Militarily and security-wise it is if no importance. It’s point is a political one and shows how it’s pointless, as usual, to trust the british.

    It shows the mentality of unionists too that they require explicit signs of oppression (of no military importance) of half the population to make them feel secure. Shows what they’re made of.

  • Cynic

    “An oppressive army presence after 10 years of peace is outrageous and uncalled for and a deliberate provocation. Not to mention a blatant example of bad faith”

    Harry, where have you been living? Ever hear of Omagh? Sectarian Riots in Belfast? Republican bomb attacks eg Newry last month? Sectarian murders by Loyalists? Loyalist internal feuds? Sectarian attacks on Catholic families in Co Antrim?

    To borrow a phrase ‘They haven’t gone away you know”.

    Yeah, it has all got a lot beter and its still improving and this change is a welcome part of that picture.

  • Jo

    Existence is not oppression, although the strenuous efforts to produce states of non-existence over thirty years must be a hard habit to break – especially if you enjoy that activity.

  • Billy

    Ulster Still British

    I don’t think that the IRA or any armed criminal group (including the UDR) achieved anything because immoral activities rarely achieve anything (they usually have the opposite effect).

    However, what has nationalism achieved since 1969?

    Real democracy (one person – one vote) rather than some Protestants with 5 votes and some Catholics with none.

    An end to the blatent discrimination against Catholics in housing, employment etc.

    Nationalists now represent > 45% of the population and rising.

    The demise of the B-Specials, RUC, UDR, RIR.

    Londerry City council becoming Derry City – soon to be followed by the City name itself.

    A police force that is gradually becoming representative of the overall community and is no longer a force to oppress one side of the community.

    The Orange Order no longer able to march where it wants and having to grovel to the parades commission for approval.

    Unionist politicians being told what to do by Westminster where they have no influence nor ablility to ensure that their side of the community is favoured.

    Unionism being faced with a stark choice in 12 weeks – form an assembly with Sinn Fein or have increased (and increasing) involvement from the RoI govt in the day to day running of NI.

    As you say Ulster is currently still British and should remain that way until a democratic vote says otherwise. However, the days of Catholics being second class citizens under Orange Unionist supremacy are long gone and they’ll never be back.

  • English

    The UK government are indeed pulling out little by little. It will be a slow process, but it is working, the Unionists have had the wool pulled over their eyes on too many occasions to mention and they cannot even see it. Unionists politicians (DUP) are so bigotted and narrow minded that they are unable to see the agenda of the UK. A knighthood for the Reverand may be a bridge too far, but the unification of ireland (via a majority catholic vote) under the GFA is not.

  • Harry

    What makes you think the british are pulling out rather than laying the foundations for joint authority for another half century, thus copper-fastening their influence across the island with a willing and pliable partner (the irish government) with the least possible cost and all to the fanfare of ‘peace and goodwill’?

    Is Ireland no longer strategically important to the british?

  • Cynic

    No Harry, Ireland isnt stretegically important to the Brits, hasn’t been since the end of the Cold War and before and, given half a chance they would be out tomorrow.

    But I do agree with you on one thing. The GFA itself and the subsequent vote ‘copper-fastened their influence across the island with a willing and pliable partner’ ie with the nationalist population in the North (good on them) who signed up to the NI remaining part of the UK until the majority in the North voted otherwise. No matter how fancifully you cut the statistics, this has zero probability in the next 25 years.

    So now we just have to learn to get on with each other. Sections of the Prods must realise that Catholics have rights and sections of the Catholics must realise that a simple ‘Brits Out’ slogan will still leave them with the nasty little fact that it’s not the Brits they really have a problem with, it’s over 1 million of their Northern prod neighbours who ain’t going anywhere.

    At the moment a lot of this is still in the ‘too difficult’ box for both sides. Meantime, the rest of us will just get on with enjoying life!

  • Harry

    You are too generous to the british Cynic, too unaware of ireland’s likely strategic importance in the coming decades and excessive in your estimation of the number of unionists in the north – it’s 900,000.

    People are naive about british strategy in ireland. They frequently say that the british want out of here as soon as possible. I put this down to a certain self-denigration by irish people, who seem to be suggesting that somehow our wee country is so worthless no-one would want to be here. In fact if the british wanted out they’d be out any moment they liked and would put in place structures that were much more generous to nationalists than the ones they have in fact put in place following the GFA. They have the power to do that but have only exercised power over the last 10 years in a way that has given nationalists precisely nothing at the end of the day and has maintained the pre-agreement status quo. Finally, we are told, this will begin to shift after November, when some form of ‘joint authroity’ is to be implemented.
    The british, of course, say that there will be no joint authroity, whilst nationalists are being led to believe that this will be what occurs in all but name.
    Given the miserly conduct of the british in this whole ‘process’ so far I reckon that 45% of the population will find the facts of joint authority a great deal less radical than the hype leading up to it would suggest.

    So, at the end of it all we have british rule copper-fastened in northern ireland, increasing prominence of loyalist paramilitarism in our society, increasing numbers of loyalist bands and marches across northern ireland as a precursor, i imagine, to increasing use by the powers that be of loyalism in all its forms – generally under the name of ‘the problem of sectarianism’ – to attempt to cow nationalists and in particular southerners into accepting a status quo well short of their rightful expectations.

    And why all this? To justify a continued presence of the british on this island i would suggest. People say that ireland’s strategic importance eneded with the end of the cold war, and say that that strategic significance also existed throughout WW2 and WW1, throughout the 19th century, throughout the Napoleonic period, thoughout the time of the French Revolution and throughout all the periods back to the time of Elizabeth I and threat to England that came from Spain.

    Now we are told that all that history of strategic significance is at an end, even though it pertained until as recently as 15 years ago.

    The fact that ireland is integrating with europe, while britain has consciously decided not to as yet and has in fact integrated its military with america much more closely than with europe, is surely sign that these matters are far from settled and ireland’s strategic significance for britain is far from settled. Certainly people are entltled to a bit of post cold-war euphoria but now that the dust of that party has settled a cold hard look at the actual facts and the way europe and america are developing – with ireland and britain in between – would lead any reasonably intelligent commentator with an understanding of history to judge that the blasé “britain wants out, we are of no strategic significance” is naive. Indeed the phrase itself partakes of the propaganda game, for it encourages us to yield elements of our sovereignty in good faith that we might not otherwise do if more aware of britains real intentions over the medium term for our island. It encourages us to accept longer timelines for a british presence on this island that we would otherwise find unacceptable.

  • POL

    Good riddance and hope they drink themselves to death with their severence pay.

  • Proud

    Today marks another step forward for Northern Ireland becoming a normal region of the UK.

    Hear hear, I thought this to be one of the most sensible contributions to this topic. Hopefully soon enough we will see a reduction in the fortifications around police stations and the like, and NI will be able to manage with no more than the standard army garrison afforded to other parts of the UK.

  • lib2016

    The installation of NATO early warning devices in the South ended most of Northern Ireland’s strategic importance more than twenty years ago and led to the Anglo Irish Agreement.

    The current use by the Americans of Shannon gives them acess to an easily defended airstrip beside a natural deep sea port in one of the most remote locations in Europe, one moreover with excellent communications facilities.

    Ireland is not in a position to defy either Europe or America but IS in a good position to negotiate with both for minor inconveniences to be sorted out, those minor incoveniences include of course an unruly local majority in two North Eastern counties.

    Ireland’s strategic importance and hence it’s ability to negotiate from strength has grown if anything. Britain’s strategic importance is being constantly eroded – as always they’ll do what the Americans want and save their negotiating position for what they really want, which is unlikely to include NI.

  • Harry

    The 2 largest islands on the west coast of europe – ireland and britain – are of great strategic importance for the north atlantic and for air and shipping connections between the US and Europe. The US will effect it’s strategic aims in this area through britain’s influence in ireland. Britain is the US’s main military partner in europe and its main watchdog of this strategic west european asset. Thus maintining british military influence on the island of ireland through a continuing presence in the north will be the US’s and Britain’s aim. This will be effected through friendly relations with the republic and an agreement to maintain such a presence within an agreed and friendly atmosphere – such as is being worked towards at present. The British are pursuing a similar strategy of increased partnership with the spanish in relation to Gibraltar without pulling out.

    This will involve the final nail in the coffin for gaelic culture and the definitive bringing of ireland into the anglo-american cultural sphere of influence, which will be presented to us as ‘the future’ and ‘the way forward’. Irish nationalism is to be equated with ‘the past’ and irish culture to be reduced to darby o’gill cameos and the GAA. British nationalism however and its military, political and economic predations upon our island will be unquestioned and allowed to proceed full tilt. It will be called ‘the future’ after all.

    The Americans have already bought off our economy and foreign policy with their investment in ireland. The stunted runts of fianna fail, incapable of generating indigenous economic activity that will allow the country to stand on its own two feet, are the willing agents of this new form of dependence.

    There is no reason why we can’t have peace and ride the 2 horses of europe and the US in an almost Venetian sense. There is no reason why we can’t have a strong indigenous economy and be a bridge between europe and the States, just like the policy britain is pursuing. However that would require leaders of a quality that ireland simply doesn’t possess, or not yet. Rather, we will be allowed to pursue those policies within the limits laid down by britain, for britain doesn’t want us to become too independent in this regard for fear of being able to upset their position of power with regard to these things.

    Thus irish nationalism and gaelic culture will end up being largely wiped out and our future will be a strongly aglicised future, just as over the last 15 years it has become ever more so. These are the limits within which ireland will be allowed to act and these are the polciies that the running dogs of fianna fail will be happy to implement on behalf of outside powers. They will result in a continued form of mental colonisation and an eneravation of our true, independent-minded potential as a nation.

  • lib2016

    America owns Britain body and soul and has done so since Suez if not earlier. Because of American domination Britain has very little voice in Europe as the last few weeks have demonstrated. It is in no sense a ‘partner’ with America.

    The Irish do have to recognise that America is presently the last superpower but our future is with Europe and then the wider world. America’s reign is already ending and in any case it’s primary interests are in the Pacific. That’s why our defence treaties are not openly acknowledged even though we all know they exist.

  • Brendan

    What will the Winsor family use for cannon-fodder now that her brave Oirish will no longer answer Britain’s call ?
    Well there are those 5 million scots. Oh no, they all hate us and are closet communists.
    What about those odd people who insist on living in Wales ? Whoops, they just got their own devolved and are heading the way of the scots.
    You see the U.S.A. has always had a huge amount of trailer trash to enlist from, but poor old Britain has no more willing fool’s to send abroad.
    RIR … RIP

  • Rory

    Way back in the late 70’s a former British cabinet minister explained to the then ardent young me at the end of a dinner party that there was absolute unity, “certainly since 1966” within the powers that be that Ireland must unite for ease of “the Euoropean thingy”. The problem he opined, and upon which all parties were agreed was “how to sell the Prods down the river with the minimum of fuss”. And so it goes, if slowly.

  • Harry

    I don’t see his reasoning Rory. Perhaps you could explain what you think it was? 40 years later his government has pursued a policy contrary to what he confided to you, as seen by the results.

    The brits are always telling the Paddys the things they want to hear but remarkably the results always seem to disappoint and tend towards a cohesion of british power on this island. I’d tend to take the word of any brit in relation to the affairs of ireland with a pinch of salt, no matter how much in his cups he is.

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    “how to sell the Prods down the river with the minimum of fuss” – yes, this Paisley-esque sentence sounds exactly like the kind of language that a British cabinet minister would use.

    Nice apocryphal fantasy there – a 40-year ongoing conspiracy passed down from government to government to leave Ireland. Shouldn’t they have gotten on with it by now?

  • beezer


    Northern Ireland will never be “a normal” part of anywhere.