British army to send 400 reinforcements to North


FOUR hundred extra troop reinforcements are being sent to Northern Ireland, the British army announced last night.

Most of the reinforcements, soldiers of the Royal Dragoon Guards, currently based at Paderborn in Germany, arrived in Northern Ireland over the weekend. A British army spokesman said the "main body" of troops was already in place.

There was no announcement as to where the reinforcements would be based, but it is believed they will be concentrated in the greater Belfast area.

The men are the second of three battalions withdrawn from the North following the start of the IRA ceasefire 17 months ago to return. The tank unit was due to start a six month emergency tour in Northern Ireland last month, but this was postponed, the spokesman said.

The 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment returned 10 days ago and was deployed along the south Armagh and Co Fermanagh border.

The army insisted that the latest move was a purely "precautionary" measure to provide support for the RUC should they require it.

A third major unit remains on standby for a return to Northern Ireland, the spokesman said.