HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 c745W
Dr. Godman

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made concerning the demilitarisation and normalisation programme since June 1998; and if he will make a statement. [97762]

Mr. Ingram

The Government are committed to the objective of as early a return as possible to normal security arrangements in Northern Ireland, consistent with the level of threat.

Major progress has already been made. Since the Good Friday Agreement, routine military patrolling has been reduced by two thirds. Three battalions have been returned to Great Britain. There are now under 15,000 service personnel on operational duties in Northern Ireland, fewer than at any time since 1970. In large parts of the Province the police patrol without any military assistance. Since April 1998 11 military bases have been demolished and a further seven installations have been closed.