HC Deb 20 July 2001 vol 372 c479W
Stephen Hesford

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the effect of the Good Friday Agreement on the lives of people in Northern Ireland in respect of issues relating to their security. [3734]

Jane Kennedy

The Good Friday Agreement both mandated and enabled the Government to pursue a process of normalisation. The general reduction in the level of threat has made it possible to return the security profile across much of Northern Ireland to that consistent with a normal, peaceful society. Troop levels are at their lowest for over 30 years; the Army has closed or demolished 25 bases since the Agreement and withdrawn from another 10 it shared with the RUC; routine military patrolling has reduced by over 50 per cent. Full and final implementation of all outstanding issues should return a secure, peaceful and prosperous society to Northern Ireland. However, the serious threat still posed by dissident terrorist organisations which remain opposed to the Agreement has prevented the community in certain parts of Northern Ireland from benefiting from the kind of progress enjoyed elsewhere.

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