RIR under investigation for brutality
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun an investigation into
the running of a Royal Irish Regiment while under the leadership of
Belfast officer Colonel Tim Collins.
The regiment, formally known as the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), is
known for its culture of brutality and its history of violence and
intimidation against Catholics in the North of Ireland.
Collins faces two British military inquiries - the first will look into
allegations of brutal conduct and torture while posted in the Middle
East. One American officer has alleged that he pretended to execute
one prisoner of war, while civilians were 'pistol-whipped' and
The second inquiry will look into the circumstances of the apparent
suicide of an RIR soldier in Drumadd Barracks, Armagh, in July 2001.
Ranger Paul Robert Cochrane died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
It has been claimed that Cochrane was subject to severe bullying and
harassment prior to his death.
Nationalists regard the regiment as little more than a Protestant
militia, and RIR/UDR members have been found to be members of unionist
paramilitary death squads.
In many cases, intelligence gathered by UDR members on republicans came
into the possession of killer gangs.
Toni Carragher, public relations officer for the South Armagh Farmers
and Residents Committee, recalled the harsh experience of nationalists
at the hands of British soldiers.
"British soldiers are trained to mete out brutality.Their record
the last 30 years in the North I think clarifies that. I have had
personal experience with the UDR in south Down where I have been
threatened by UDR soldiers many, many times."