£2m Care Service For Ex-Soldiers

More than 60,000 ex-members of the UDR and Royal Irish Regiment are to benefit from a £2m a year service to help them deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

There will also be re-training available for about 2,000 soldiers made redundant earlier this year.

The government promised funding for the care service in a resettlement package after the RIR home service battalions were disbanded in the summer.

Its aim is to help former soldiers adjust to civilian life.

There will be advice on how to qualify for welfare and benevolent support, job training and access to medical care.

The service will be based at Palace Barracks in Holywood, and 12 of its 25 staff will be located at TA centres in Coleraine, Enniskillen and Portadown.

Colonel Mark Campbell, the last commanding officer of the home service battalions, said the service would help acknowledge the debt owed by the community to those who served in the UDR and the Royal Irish.

During the troubles, 271 locally recruited soldiers were murdered, and more than 600 were left physically disabled.