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    Irish recruits to British army increasing

    By Noreen Bowden | August 6, 2008

    The number of recruits from the Republic of Ireland joining the British army has doubled in the last year, according to the Belfast Newsletter. The paper says that Irish citizens now make up 10.5% of recruits.

    The paper features a 23-year-old Kilkenny carpenter who said that he had been getting restless. Although he had been in the Irish reserves, he felt “the English Army has a lot more to offer – I can go on to further education maybe after a few years and there are plenty of options for combat tours, going to Iraq, Afghanistan or other areas like that.”

    The paper quotes Lieutenant Colonel Dick Rafferty, head of Army recruitment in Northern Ireland, who said:

    “Historically, there is nothing new in young men and women from the south joining the Army.

    “But it’s fair to say that for many years the numbers were in decline.

    “However, from 2003 onwards we have seen real growth in those joining.”

    Lt-Col Rafferty put the reasons for this growth down to a change in Irish attitudes to the British Army, economic conditions and word-of-mouth from the many Irish soldiers in the Army.

    “Similarly, given the current strong and vibrant political relations between North and South, there is less of a stigma in telling your friends and family that you’ve joined,” he said.

    See the article on the Belfast Newsletter website.

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