UK army ends presence in N Ireland

Nearly 40 years of British military presence in Northern Ireland will come to an end at midnight on Tuesday when the army formally ends its operations in the province.

UK army ends presence in N Ireland
Nearly 40 years of British military presence in Northern Ireland will come to an end at midnight on Tuesday when the army formally ends its operations in the province.

A low-key flag-lowering ceremony at a barracks in the County Antrim area will be the only official event marking the end of Operation Banner the army's longest continuous deployment.

During its 38 years, more than 300,000 personnel have served in the operation and 763 have lost their lives and 6,000 were injured.

The formal cessation of the military's activities is seen as another milestone in Northern Ireland's transition to peace.

From Wednesday only a 5,000-strong regular garrison will remain in the province. The troops will not be on active service and can be deployed anywhere in the world.

Troops were first deployed in 1969 to help restore order after sectarian riots between Protestants and Roman Catholics. During the most serious fighting with paramilitaries up to 30,000 soldiers were deployed on the streets.

Agencies
Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2007, 14:29
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