Rifles ‘fine tuning’ plans to relocate to new city base

Soldiers serving with 2 Rifles at Ballykinler are in the

process of ‘fine tuning’

plans for relocation to their new base in Lisburn, the MoD has confirmed.

The minstry also revealedthe battalion was in a pre-deployment phase, making ready to undertake another tour of duty in Afghanistan in the autumn. It will be based in Kabul as well as Camp Bastion as UK troops scale down operations in preparation for handing over to local forces.

Commanding Officer, Lt Col Mark Gidlow-Jackson saidthe next year was going to be a busy one for soldiers and their families.

“Problem solving is what the Army is about,” he said, “and not only do we have a lot of people versed in unit moves but also the support from 38 (Irish) Brigade, so it should be as seamless as possible.

The move from Ballykinler was approved after a review of best use of infrastructure and long-term costings.

It comes with mixed blessings for the battalion.

“The decision was never going to be universally popular because there are a lot of attractions to living and working in Ballykinler,” said Lt Col Gidlow-Jackson.

“But then there are also advantages in the move to Lisburn, including proximity to a wide range of facilities as well as transport links.

“For the most part, the community will be sad to see us go and it would be sad to lose some of the relationships established here over many years but the reality is that Lisburn is not really that far away .

“Ballykinler remains, in my mind, the best training area in Northern Ireland and 2 Rifles will be among the many regular users.”