A training mission conducted by Britain’s Royal Air Force has drawn attention to the continuing and unwelcome presence of the British military garrison in Ireland.
On Friday afternoon, November 4, four combat RAF fighter jets were spotted taking part in low-flying manoeuvres in areas of South Down and East Tyrone.
“Yet again we bear witness to the British military using this part of Ireland as a training ground to hone their skills,” Saoradh said in a statement.
Fifteen years ago, the British Army claimed to have ended “Operation Banner”, its name for its part in the conflict in the North of Ireland.
The move lead some to believe the British military occupation of Ireland was winding down.
However, thousands of regular British troops remained stationed in the Six Counties, alongside units of the ‘elite’ SAS, SSR, and British military intelligence agencies. They are routinely seen taking part alongside the PSNI police in house raids, searches and militarised policing operations.
Saoradh said there have been clear attempts to normalise the ongoing British military presence in the north Ireland.
“There’s nothing ‘normal’ about British troops, MI5 agents or British warplanes operating in Ireland, regardless of whether they are doing it to target the local population or training to target citizens in other countries as part of their imperialist agenda,” they said.
Lasair Dhearg warned the contining presence of 20,000 Crown Force personnel could be mobilised against the Irish people at any time.
“They can, and will, be rapidly mobilised onto Irish streets and into Irish fields should the need arise. In the meantime, they will be busy training and preparing for tours of duty across the globe to further the interests of the British state. Political control of these soldiers will, as ever, rest firmly in Number 10 Downing Street.”
Anti-Imperialist Action noted the use of low flying British army Lynx helicopters in Derry, which they say have been intimidating and harassing the local community. It also described the actions of the fighter jets as “terrorist” in nature.
“It is surely no coincidence that they areas these exercise took place above are traditional Republican heartlands were the resistance against the illegal British occupation of Ireland remains the strongest,” they said.
“These harassment operations demonstrate that Britain remains at war in Ireland against the Republican community. Britain has no right to be in Ireland or to engage in any form of military operation on our country.
It ended with a call for “popular resistance” to be built across the country, and for a “mass Revolutionary Republican movement” that can defeat the British occupation of Ireland.