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Thread: British troops leave NIreland borderland

  1. #1
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    British troops leave NIreland borderland

    By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
    2 hours, 43 minutes ago



    DUBLIN, Ireland - The final British troops withdrew Monday from the Northern Ireland borderland long known as "bandit country," ending a 37-year mission to keep watch over the Irish Republican Army's most dangerous power base.

    Soldiers from the second battalion of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment left Bessbrook Mill in what their commander, Col. Wayne Harber, called a final act in "the longest military campaign in the army's history."

    "We are pleased to be going and that the peace process is progressing. Soldiers know the importance of peace more than anybody else," Harber said.

    The overall commander of the remaining 5,600 troops in Northern Ireland, Lt. Gen. Nick Parker, said the threat posed by IRA dissident groups did not require "large numbers of troops based in bases around the country." He said their infrequent, largely abortive efforts to mount bomb and gun attacks could be combated most effectively by police aided by anti-terrorist intelligence agencies.

    "The dissidents are not a worthy target for a military force," Parker said at Bessbrook Mill.

    In 1970, British soldiers converted the 19th century stone mill into a fortress. Bessbrook Mill became the launching pad for helicopter-borne operations throughout South Armagh, a predominantly Catholic region midway between Belfast and Dublin dubbed "bandit country."

    The official closure of Bessbrook Mill, for decades the busiest heliport in Europe, reflects dramatic recent progress in Northern Ireland's 14-year-old peace process.

    The outlawed IRA, long committed to forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom, officially quit in 2005 and surrendered its largely Libyan-supplied stocks of weaponry. Britain, in turn, launched a program to cut its Northern Ireland military garrison back to a "peacetime" level of 5,000 by the end of July 2007.

    Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the closure "marks a key step" in Britain's commitment "to remove 37 years' worth of military infrastructure."

    Ingram told the British Parliament that the army once had 106 bases and 27,000 troops in Northern Ireland, still had 44 bases two years ago, but had fewer than 20 operating today. All but 10 of those will be gone by next year, he said.

    The central goal of the Good Friday peace accord of 1998 a joint Catholic-Protestant administration that includes the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party was revived in May and has been operating harmoniously.

    During the early years of the IRA campaign, South Armagh was the closest place that the IRA had to a home field. Of the 763 British military personnel killed in Northern Ireland from 1971 to 1997, South Armagh claimed 108, while the British rarely captured or killed members of the IRA's South Armagh unit in exchange.

    British troops surrendered South Armagh's roads to the IRA because of bombs hidden in hedges and drainage ditches. Soldiers on foot patrol faced grave dangers because of booby traps and snipers. The army turned exclusively to helicopters to position troops in a network of village forts and 13 hilltop surveillance towers.

    The last of those towers was torn down last year. The British army's last helicopter flight from Bessbrook occurred Friday.

    The IRA launched only one accurate attack on Bessbrook Mill itself, an April 1987 mortar strike that injured three soldiers in the base's parking lot. The last soldier to be killed in the conflict was slain in Bessbrook, where a sniper shot Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, 23, through the neck as he chatted to a villager at a road checkpoint in February 1997.

    Sinn Fein's senior politician in South Armagh, Conor Murphy, said the British retreat from Bessbrook Mill was "obviously welcome news for the community of South Armagh, who have had to live under British military occupation."

    But Sinn Fein's moderate rival for Catholic votes, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, or SDLP, noted that decades of IRA attacks had encouraged the British military only to dig in and it took IRA cease-fires and political compromise to get them out.

    "At times, it was difficult to imagine the day when they would leave, but I am glad that day has arrived," said Dominic Bradley, an SDLP lawmaker and Bessbrook native who recalled boyhood memories of the moment when troops arrived in the village.

    "At the end of the day, their departure was brought about by peaceful, democratic politics and not by the use of violence, which at all times did nothing more than lengthen the duration of their stay," Bradley said.




    It's a start at least.

  2. #2
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    [QUOTE=New York Mick]By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
    2 hours, 43 minutes ago



    DUBLIN, Ireland - The final British troops withdrew Monday from the Northern Ireland borderland long known as "bandit country," ending a 37-year mission to keep watch over the Irish Republican Army's most dangerous power base.

    Soldiers from the second battalion of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment left Bessbrook Mill in what their commander, Col. Wayne Harber, called a final act in "the longest military campaign in the army's history."

    "We are pleased to be going and that the peace process is progressing. Soldiers know the importance of peace more than anybody else," Harber said.

    The overall commander of the remaining 5,600 troops in Northern Ireland, Lt. Gen. Nick Parker, said the threat posed by IRA dissident groups did not require "large numbers of troops based in bases around the country." He said their infrequent, largely abortive efforts to mount bomb and gun attacks could be combated most effectively by police aided by anti-terrorist intelligence agencies.

    "The dissidents are not a worthy target for a military force," Parker said at Bessbrook Mill.

    In 1970, British soldiers converted the 19th century stone mill into a fortress. Bessbrook Mill became the launching pad for helicopter-borne operations throughout South Armagh, a predominantly Catholic region midway between Belfast and Dublin dubbed "bandit country."

    The official closure of Bessbrook Mill, for decades the busiest heliport in Europe, reflects dramatic recent progress in Northern Ireland's 14-year-old peace process.

    The outlawed IRA, long committed to forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom, officially quit in 2005 and surrendered its largely Libyan-supplied stocks of weaponry. Britain, in turn, launched a program to cut its Northern Ireland military garrison back to a "peacetime" level of 5,000 by the end of July 2007.

    Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the closure "marks a key step" in Britain's commitment "to remove 37 years' worth of military infrastructure."

    Ingram told the British Parliament that the army once had 106 bases and 27,000 troops in Northern Ireland, still had 44 bases two years ago, but had fewer than 20 operating today. All but 10 of those will be gone by next year, he said.

    The central goal of the Good Friday peace accord of 1998 a joint Catholic-Protestant administration that includes the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party was revived in May and has been operating harmoniously.

    During the early years of the IRA campaign, South Armagh was the closest place that the IRA had to a home field. Of the 763 British military personnel killed in Northern Ireland from 1971 to 1997, South Armagh claimed 108, while the British rarely captured or killed members of the IRA's South Armagh unit in exchange.

    British troops surrendered South Armagh's roads to the IRA because of bombs hidden in hedges and drainage ditches. Soldiers on foot patrol faced grave dangers because of booby traps and snipers. The army turned exclusively to helicopters to position troops in a network of village forts and 13 hilltop surveillance towers.

    The last of those towers was torn down last year. The British army's last helicopter flight from Bessbrook occurred Friday.

    The IRA launched only one accurate attack on Bessbrook Mill itself, an April 1987 mortar strike that injured three soldiers in the base's parking lot. The last soldier to be killed in the conflict was slain in Bessbrook, where a sniper shot Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, 23, through the neck as he chatted to a villager at a road checkpoint in February 1997.

    Sinn Fein's senior politician in South Armagh, Conor Murphy, said the British retreat from Bessbrook Mill was "obviously welcome news for the community of South Armagh, who have had to live under British military occupation."

    But Sinn Fein's moderate rival for Catholic votes, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, or SDLP, noted that decades of IRA attacks had encouraged the British military only to dig in and it took IRA cease-fires and political compromise to get them out.

    "At times, it was difficult to imagine the day when they would leave, but I am glad that day has arrived," said Dominic Bradley, an SDLP lawmaker and Bessbrook native who recalled boyhood memories of the moment when troops arrived in the village.

    "At the end of the day, their departure was brought about by peaceful, democratic politics and not by the use of violence, which at all times did nothing more than lengthen the duration of their stay," Bradley said.




    It's a start at least.[/QUOTE]
    sweet! :yes:

  3. #3
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    I won't be happy until that white line is gone.

    [IMG]http://www.jmu.edu/international/images/ireland_map.gif[/IMG]

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=Sean Ryan]I won't be happy until that white line is gone.

    [IMG]http://www.jmu.edu/international/images/ireland_map.gif[/IMG][/QUOTE]

    It's been over 700 years, at least it's a start but I agree with your point.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=New York Mick]By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
    2 hours, 43 minutes ago



    DUBLIN, Ireland - The final British troops withdrew Monday from the Northern Ireland borderland long known as "bandit country," ending a 37-year mission to keep watch over the Irish Republican Army's most dangerous power base.

    Soldiers from the second battalion of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment left Bessbrook Mill in what their commander, Col. Wayne Harber, called a final act in "the longest military campaign in the army's history."

    "We are pleased to be going and that the peace process is progressing. Soldiers know the importance of peace more than anybody else," Harber said.

    The overall commander of the remaining 5,600 troops in Northern Ireland, Lt. Gen. Nick Parker, said the threat posed by IRA dissident groups did not require "large numbers of troops based in bases around the country." He said their infrequent, largely abortive efforts to mount bomb and gun attacks could be combated most effectively by police aided by anti-terrorist intelligence agencies.

    "The dissidents are not a worthy target for a military force," Parker said at Bessbrook Mill.

    In 1970, British soldiers converted the 19th century stone mill into a fortress. Bessbrook Mill became the launching pad for helicopter-borne operations throughout South Armagh, a predominantly Catholic region midway between Belfast and Dublin dubbed "bandit country."

    The official closure of Bessbrook Mill, for decades the busiest heliport in Europe, reflects dramatic recent progress in Northern Ireland's 14-year-old peace process.

    The outlawed IRA, long committed to forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom, officially quit in 2005 and surrendered its largely Libyan-supplied stocks of weaponry. Britain, in turn, launched a program to cut its Northern Ireland military garrison back to a "peacetime" level of 5,000 by the end of July 2007.

    Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the closure "marks a key step" in Britain's commitment "to remove 37 years' worth of military infrastructure."

    Ingram told the British Parliament that the army once had 106 bases and 27,000 troops in Northern Ireland, still had 44 bases two years ago, but had fewer than 20 operating today. All but 10 of those will be gone by next year, he said.

    The central goal of the Good Friday peace accord of 1998 a joint Catholic-Protestant administration that includes the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party was revived in May and has been operating harmoniously.

    During the early years of the IRA campaign, South Armagh was the closest place that the IRA had to a home field. Of the 763 British military personnel killed in Northern Ireland from 1971 to 1997, South Armagh claimed 108, while the British rarely captured or killed members of the IRA's South Armagh unit in exchange.

    British troops surrendered South Armagh's roads to the IRA because of bombs hidden in hedges and drainage ditches. Soldiers on foot patrol faced grave dangers because of booby traps and snipers. The army turned exclusively to helicopters to position troops in a network of village forts and 13 hilltop surveillance towers.

    The last of those towers was torn down last year. The British army's last helicopter flight from Bessbrook occurred Friday.

    The IRA launched only one accurate attack on Bessbrook Mill itself, an April 1987 mortar strike that injured three soldiers in the base's parking lot. The last soldier to be killed in the conflict was slain in Bessbrook, where a sniper shot Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, 23, through the neck as he chatted to a villager at a road checkpoint in February 1997.

    Sinn Fein's senior politician in South Armagh, Conor Murphy, said the British retreat from Bessbrook Mill was "obviously welcome news for the community of South Armagh, who have had to live under British military occupation."

    But Sinn Fein's moderate rival for Catholic votes, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, or SDLP, noted that decades of IRA attacks had encouraged the British military only to dig in and it took IRA cease-fires and political compromise to get them out.

    "At times, it was difficult to imagine the day when they would leave, but I am glad that day has arrived," said Dominic Bradley, an SDLP lawmaker and Bessbrook native who recalled boyhood memories of the moment when troops arrived in the village.

    "At the end of the day, their departure was brought about by peaceful, democratic politics and not by the use of violence, which at all times did nothing more than lengthen the duration of their stay," Bradley said.




    It's a start at least.[/QUOTE]


    Very nice, hopefully this whole thing will end sooner rather then later.

  6. #6
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    I'll Drink to that.............. :D

  7. #7
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    Time to invade the North!

  8. #8
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    So this is a milestone after nearly 1,000 years of raping the Irish? Whoopie-freaking-doo. :steamin:

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