18 May 2006 Edition

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"No tears shed" over closures of British bases

Sinn Féin's Davy Hyland, speaking after British Ministry of Defence minister Adam Ingram announced on Wednesday 10 May that three British army bases in the North will close within two years, said that the timetable for British demilitarisation was not progressing with the speed promised by Tony Blair's government.

Ingram revealed the British army garrison in the North will retain eleven bases and sites. The RIR's St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena, Shackelton Barracks in Ballykelly, County Derry and St Lucia Barracks in Omagh are to close. Hyland said no one would shed tears over the disbanding of the RIR battalions as they were nothing but a unionist militia. "What this announcement does do is free up significant amounts of land which opens up exciting opportunities for communities who have suffered for so long with British war apparatus in their midst. It is important that these sites are developed with the interests of these communities at the core of any future plans".

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