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True To Form 
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:40 pm
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Location: Hull
Post True To Form
Here is a piece from a Belfast Newsletter which makes very interesting reading.

BELFAST'S historic homecoming parade for the armed forces is to be brought forward by an hour, the News Letter can reveal. As the Parade Commission nears a decision on whether to allow both the armed forces and Sinn Fein to parade in the city centre, the News Letter understands that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has now proposed that it hold the homecoming parade earlier. The MoD had originally asked to hold the parade at 12.45pm on Sunday, November 2, prompting Sinn Fein to then apply to hold a 12pm counter-march in protest at the troops. But now the MoD has submitted an altered application has been submitted which will see the homecoming parade begin at 11.45am from outside the gates of the RBAI school. A spokesman for the Parades Commission, which has held high-level meetings with senior politicians and top PSNI officers in recent days, said that yesterday it had deliberated late into the night about the issue.

"At this point in time, we expect there to be a decision sometime this afternoon," the spokesman said. All that a Ministry of Defence spokesman would say was: "We are doing all we possibly can do to have peaceful, respectful and solemn parade for those who have been deployed."

Sinn Fein's attempt to disrupt the armed forces' Belfast homecoming parade last night looking increasingly isolated after both the SDLP and a prominent Catholic priest urged the party to allow the parade to pass peacefully. On Friday morning Ulster medics will return to the Province from Afghanistan. Territorial Army members of 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital - most of whom are NHS doctors and nurses in Ulster hospitals - will return to Belfast where they will be reunited with their families.

The unit's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Iain Moles, said that the medics were looking forward to coming home. "Talk is now of home, Ulster fries, Guinness, who Ulster are playing at Ravenhill and will we be home in time for the next home game," he said. Speaking of the medics' time in Helmand Province, he said: "A few have been out on the ground and seen a little of what can be a starkly beautiful land, but this has been a working visit and not a tourist opportunity.

"There is an overwhelming feeling of having done well; the unit have every right to be proud of their achievements. "We have been the busiest hospital on Op Herrick of any so far. "Over 400 operations, 1,000 ED attendances, 246 patients in ITU/HDU, 500 admitted to wards and sadly over 55 deaths, some quite gristly. "Still, going home to the NHS will be different, it will lack the cohesion speed and focus of care here, we will be back to waiting lists and trolley waits, targets and deadlines."

Well done the medics; shame on Sinn Fein.


Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:50 am
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Post Re: True To Form
This was a comment by a member of the RIR.

Absoloutely disgusted about all this. There were murmurs when we were still in theatre that there may be some disruption to the parades in Belfast. It sickens me, as a 1 R. Irish soldier, from the south of the Republic of Ireland, that these people pull this kind of stunt "in my name". Ranger Justin Cupples, a good friend of mine and a citizen of The Republic of Ireland, made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan 6 weeks ago, typifying the virtues of an Irish soldier and the British Infantry, courage, loyalty and selfless commitment, to name but a few. The people organising these 'counter-marches', don't have the privelege to call themselves Irish. They are stuck in the painfull and horrific past of Northern Ireland and fail to look to the future and see what and where the real enemy is. For those who insist on living in the past, I leave this bit of history:

It is a curious contradiction, not often remembered, that for many generations the private soldier of the British Army were largely Irish; the Irish have natural endowments for war, courage, daring, love of excitement and conflict; Macaulay described Ireland as ‘an inexhaustible nursery of the finest soldiers’. Poverty and lack of opportunity at home made the soldiers shilling a day, and the chance of foreign service, attractive to the Irishman; and the armies of which England is proud, the troops which broke the power of Napoleon in the Peninsula and defeated him at Waterloo, which fought on the scorching plains of India and stormed the heights of Alma in the Crimean campaign ,and planted the British flag in every quarter of the globe in a hundred forgotten engagements , were largely, indeed in many cases mainly, Irish. --- Cecil Woodham-Smith.


Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:03 am
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