§ 26. Sir Michael McNair-Wilson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the present number of service personnel currently serving in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Freeman
As at 31 March 1988, the most recent available figure, 17,130 service men and women were serving in the security forces in Northern Ireland.
§ 52. Sir John Biggs-Davison
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the present role of the armed forces in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
The role of the armed forces in Northern Ireland is to provide support to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the fight against terrorism. Nine Regular battalions, one Royal Marine Commando and nine battalions of the Ulster Defence Regiment, together with specialist support from other units such as the Royal Engineers, are currently deployed in the Province. Elements of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force also make an important contribution.