The following is an e-mail from the Troops Out Movement
Over the last few days the media has been blazoned with reports that British military operations in the north of Ireland have ended ….. but read the small print! Please also read article below from the North Belfast News
1) There are still to be 5000 British Troops in the 6 counties – “as a peacetime garrison as in other parts of Britain”. (There are 5500 British troops in Iraq)
2) When did the Brit government admit it was wartime in NI !!??
3) NI has the same population as Birmingham – we don’t have 5000 troops as a peace time garrison!!
4) This is from BBC News 25th June o7
The security service, MI5, is moving to a new base in County Down. The move to Palace Barracks, Holywood is in preparation for an expanded role in NI intelligence gathering. MI5 is due to take over the lead role in intelligence involving national security by the end of 2007. Until now, the PSNI Special Branch has had overall responsibility. Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde called the plan “a healthy split”. In future, while police handlers will continue to work with individual agents they will, in some cases, report back to MI5.
NB: Holywood is an Army Barracks. Ccould this have something to do with SF joining the police board?? Why do they still need “Agents”?
I don’t think we’ll be giving up yet !!
Mary Pearson – Secretary
Troops Out Movement ~ Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland
PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ Tel: 0121 773 8683 0r 0797 017 4167
Army special powers remain
North Belfast News 03/08/07
The British army are to keep their powers to stop and search and hold anyone indefinitely under new legislation.
The Justice and Security Act 2007 which came into operation on August 1 will see 5,000 troops remain in the North to assist the police if and when deemed necessary.
However, despite the historic ending of the British army’s longest-running military campaign this week, the British government has decided that there was still too much of a security risk for soldiers to give up the powers.
Ardoyne republican Martin Meehan said
“This is an outrage and is a reminder of how the army used these powers to coerce nationalists during internment. There is no need for the British army to keep such powers when they have withdrawn powers which have so often been used against nationalists.”
The new legislation comes as Operation Banner, the army’s codename for its operation here, finally came to an end on Tuesday after 38 years. Anyone refusing to co-operate with the new legislation is expected to face fines of up to £5,000.
North Belfast MLA and Junior First Minister Gerry Kelly said history has shown repeatedly that the British army have always misused and abused powers given to them that they should never have had.
“The army is a blunt instrument which has been used as a blunt weapon by the British government against republicans, nationalists and Catholics. The fact remains that there is now no need for them to have these powers with the Executive now fully restored and normal civil policing. This decision is absolutely wrong.”
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Office said the special powers were necessary because the army could still be called in to support the PSNI.
“We hope that it won’t be necessary to have troops on the streets again. The Patten Report recommended that as long as there is the potential for serous public order incidents then the army should be available to support the police. This role requires the army to have powers over and above the ordinary citizen.”