07/10/2011

Alert Fails To Halt Combat Soldiers' Welcome

Military personnel from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards and 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment are in Northern Ireland for a number of key events this weekend with a parade and display taking place this afternoon.

Despite a bomb alert near the King's Hall venue earlier, the event to honour troops who have returned from Afghanistan is running on schedule.

Earlier, some roads were closed due to the alert in the grounds of a bar on the Lisburn Road - but are open again after Army bomb experts dealt with a suspicious package.

At 3pm, hundreds of soldiers from the Irish Guards and Royal Irish Regiment paraded in front of a ticket-only audience during the event which included a Military Review and Drumhead Service - all hosted by Belfast City Council.

The Council is hosting the event in recognition of the service of the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment in Afghanistan with around 300 military personnel participating in the Review with some 3,500 members of the public attending.
News Image
The event will also include the presentation of commemorative medallions to military personnel by Belfast's Deputy Lord Mayor, Alderman Ruth Patterson - herself a former UDR soldier.

A musical programme and exhibition of armoured vehicles also ran from 2pm at designated areas within the grounds.

Additionally, the Irish Guards will be taking part in a Church Service, Parade and Civic Reception hosted by Ards Borough Council as well as a Parade and Civic Reception hosted by Castlereagh Borough Council - on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Elements of The Irish Guards will also be visiting a number of other locations across NI during their visit.

Sadness

As well as being a celebration, it is also a remembrance as while more than 1,500 members of the Royal Irish Regiment returned from a tour of Afghanistan in April, three soldiers from the 1st Battalionmwere killed during the operation, which began last September.

Ranger Aaron McCormick, 22, from Macosquin in County Londonderry was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in November last year.

Ranger David Dalzell, 20, from Bangor was shot in February. The exact circumstances of his death have not yet been confirmed.

Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, 27, from Banbridge, was killed by an IED in March.‪

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 June 2021
Thousands Of Businesses Supported Wth Recovery Revitalisation Programme
Thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland have been supported with a £19.3 million funding scheme, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said.
09 June 2021
New £42m NIFRS Centre Approved In Cookstown
A new Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Learning and Development Centre is to be developed at Desertcreat in Cookstown, following planning approval by Mid Ulster District Council. The council's Planning Committee agreed planning permission should be granted to the £42.
14 June 2021
Grand Opera House Restoration Works Unveiled
The unveiling of major restoration works at the Grand Opera House have been welcomed by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, as work continues towards safely getting live audiences back into theatres. The Grand Opera House closed in January 2020 for a £12.2million restoration and development project.
07 June 2021
DUP Members Quit Over Concerns Direction The Party Is Taking
Many DUP members in the South Down constituency have quit the party over concerns about the direction it is taking under new leader Edwin Poots. Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen have resigned, along with other members in the South Down association. At the Association's AGM on Saturday evening Mr. Hanna was removed as Chairman.
04 June 2021
New 'Civic Dollars' App Launches In NI
A new 'Civic Dollars' mobile phone app, developed with support from Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice, means that people can now earn rewards for the time they spend in their local parks and open spaces.