Mr Shannon said,
“Whilst Northern Ireland is 3% of the UK population, we have always outperformed in our contribution to the Armed Forces and most especially in the Reserve Forces. I am glad that we will see a further boost to the Reserve Forces in Northern Ireland.
The proportion of the Army based in Northern Ireland will rise, as it will in Scotland and Wales, and while this is tempered by the slight reduction in overall numbers, I am pleased we will retain the same number of battalions and will see an additional Reserve company of the Royal Irish Regiment.
I have raised a note of caution with the Defence Secretary in relation to the overall reduction in numbers. Our party accepts that developments in equipment and technology, as well as the changing nature of threats mean there is a need for increased investment in new and innovative capabilities, but it is vital that is not at the expense of our capability to react when necessary and appropriate to counter the more conventional threats like those faced in recent decades from terrorism and despotic regimes, or indeed to assist quickly and effectively when humanitarian needs arise.”