NI TA on show.

"THE might of the Territorial Army reservists from Northern Ireland was showcased to the public in a major skills and equipment display in Co Down yesterday.

The TA exercise took place at Ballykinler in Co Down with reservists from six units taking part, including the Royal Irish Regiment, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

Dramatic military displays were played out in front of enthralled spectators.

Colonel Ian Moles, the senior Territorial Officer in Northern Ireland, said the event at Ballykinler was “unique in bringing together on show the diverse talents and skills of reserves across Northern Ireland”.

“The TA in Northern Ireland are a very lively and professional group.

“We are three per cent of the population, we are four per cent of the Territorial Army across the UK and yet over the last three years we have averaged over 20 per cent of TA deployments,” he said.

“As the reserves stand in Northern Ireland we are punching well above our weight across all deployments from Afghanistan to Cyprus.

“Afghanistan will reduce, but our commitments will change and we will be used in other situations. A very good example of change has been the example recently of the Royal Irish TA who have just returned from helping train the Ugandan Army.”

The event comes after the announcement by UK defence secretary Liam Fox that soldier numbers would be cut to 82,000 by the end of the decade – the smallest in 110 years – and that training of reservists would be increased to fill the void.

A statement from the MoD confirmed that the army would be taking a look at the increased use of Northern Ireland reserve soldiers in the various theatres of war, with many having served in Iraq, Afghanistan and on the peace line in Cyprus.

The army statement added: “Using the extensive training grounds at Ballykinler, the soldiers showed how their training, talents and equipment are tested to the fullest on operations.

“A realistic scenario witnessed them on a multi-national deployment to bring stability to a third world country with isolated villages requiring urgent medical aid as armed factions fight for governmental control and access to limited natural resources.”

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson paid tribute to the TA soldiers from Northern Ireland, but voiced concern at the government plans to cut the size of the regulars

“The DUP policy is that the British Army is among the best in the world, and this is a classic case of ‘if it’s not broken, then don’t try to fix it’,” he said.

“Everyone knows the effectiveness of the Northern Ireland reservists in TA. They are brave, professional soldiers who have proved their worth in various wars.

“However, no exercise will mask the fact that the British Army is being reduced, and weakened numerically.

“We in DUP have made no secret of the fact that it is a wrong strategy and that remains our policy.

“We are totally opposed to these cuts, and a PR exercise like this does not convince us.”

Last week, Dr Fox announced in the Commons that the 101,000-strong British forces would be cut by up to 19,000 by the end of the decade.

He said the reduction would see the military increase its reliance on the reserves with more money made available for their training."

It went very well, a bloody good day. Video on the UTV link.

Ulster army reservists show their strength - Local - News Letter

UTV Lifestyle - Families experience soldier's overseas life


Pity the Picture is wrong, the guys are 51 Scottish Brigade, sure they were well happy to see that pic, looks like it was a good day though.
Just a thought, would 207 Bty come under 51 Bde. After all, there was this petite large lunged colleen from Queens, kicking aboot Inverness last year.


Book Reviewer
so thats the loyalist side, when do the republicans get their go :)
Lt Col with a Staff capbadge? Or is that just an "across the sea" thing?
Still a bit silly to use a Unit pictured under 51 Bde when you are trying highlight the Reserves in NI?

just a thought......
Meh, they had a couple of guns down and were static, easy photo. Unlikely the press even noticed the different Bde flash and even less likely the general public reading the article will know the difference.
“However, no exercise will mask the fact that the British Army is being reduced, and weakened numerically."

“We are totally opposed to these cuts, and a PR exercise like this does not convince us.”
Good to see Jeffrey making a **** of himself and totally missing the point of the event for a change. Maybe someone should have told him it was in the training planner months before the recent Regular cuts and planned TA increase were announced and was intended as family day out.
The TA in NI has always been well recruited. Even during the troubles, when it had to complete with the part time RIR and RUC. Since these
two organisations have now gone there is no longer any competition units have seen interest increase.

Furthermore as an Englishman in the NI TA i can say with first hand experience that the loyalty and commitment of the people of Northern
Ireland cannot be questioned.

The vast majority coming through our gate are volunteering for ops as soon as they can.
Check out the amount of mark 7 helmets on the infantry blokes - says a lot really.

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