THE NORTHERN Ireland memorial to Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers killed during the troubles will be erected in Lisburn City Centre following a decision by Planners to give the project the green light.

Vice President of the UDR's Regimental Association Retired Major Walter Lindsay has spoken of his delight at the decision to allow the memorial to be sited on the pavement at the south east corner of the Irish Linen Centre.

He said it was appropriate Lisburn had been chosen as the UDR was 'raised' in the city and became operational on April 1, 1970.

He also felt the memorial would "recognise the self sacrifice of the soldiers, both men and women, from all traditions of the UK.

"General Sir John Anderson, who was first Colonel Commandant, would no doubt be very content that the courage, hard work and persistence of the soldiers is being recognised," he added.

The news was also welcomed by both Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Lisburn's Mayor Councillor James Tinsley.

Mr. Donaldson said he was 'delighted' the memorial will be sited in "the heart of Lisburn.

"We as a city commend those men and women who served so well in defence of our freedom," he said.

Mr. Tinsley stressed the memorial would commemorate "the whole of the Northern Ireland regiment: "I look forward to its erection and dedication," he added.

Tributes were also paid to the UDR when the decision to allow the construction of the memorial was presented to Lisburn City Council's Planning Committee on Monday evening.

Alderman Edwin Poots referred to the work done by the Regiment to 'protect citizens, save lives and make Northern Ireland a safer place'.

Councillor Jonathan Craig said he worked with the UDR Association last year and knew the memorial meant 'an awful lot to them'.

Alderman Cecil Calvert said he welcomed the decision to site the memorial in Lisburn 'very much indeed'.

Alderman Jim Dillon said the UDR had been 'a great regiment' and added people in Lisburn would be proud to have the memorial in Market Square.