HC Deb 01 May 2003 vol 404 cc451-2W
David Burnside

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future use of the three home battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment. [110791]

Dr. Moonie

The Royal Irish Regiment comprises three Home Service battalions, the General Service battalion which has been serving in Iraq, and a TA battalion.

Until there is agreement on Security Normalisation in Northern Ireland, it would be premature to come to any conclusions on the final composition of the Northern Ireland garrison. Current planning is addressing the implications of security normalisation for the Home Service battalions. The role of the Home Service element is Military Aid to the Civil Power; as the security environment improves we expect the need for this role will decline.