29/03/2011 - Permalink

Royal Irish Regiment to be welcomed home

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Soldiers and officers from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment will march through the streets of Shrewsbury to mark their return from Afghanistan next month.

The homecoming parade will take place at 10am on Tuesday 12 April 2011 and will be followed by a special service at Shrewsbury Abbey at 11am.  The regiment, based at Tern Hill barracks near Market Drayton, has been on a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, and it is expected about 300 soldiers and officers will take part in the parade.

Shropshire Council chairman, Malcolm Pate, has invited the regiment to parade through Shrewsbury to honour the work and sacrifices made by the soldiers.  It is hoped hundreds of people will line the streets to watch the parade and pass on their best wishes.

The Battalion marched from the Abbey to Shirehall in October 2008, but this time they will parade through the heart of Shrewsbury itself, starting at the castle, going up Castle Street, along St Mary’s Street and Dogpole, and down Wyle Cop to the Abbey.  There will then be a church service at 11am, after which the regiment will parade up Abbey Foregate at about 12.15pm to Shirehall for a civic reception.

Councillor Pate said:

“The soldiers and officers of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment have faced danger on a daily basis while serving their country in Afghanistan, and sadly not all of them will make it home.  I think it’s extremely important that the people of Shropshire turn out in good numbers to offer their support, and I’m sure the parade will be a wonderful and poignant occasion for all concerned.”

Commanding officer, Lt Col Colin Weir MBE, said:

“We have always been made to feel welcome by the people of Shropshire and this is now being reinforced by the invitation of Shropshire Council to parade through the streets of Shrewsbury.  We are honoured to have been asked, and after six months in Afghanistan, the parade is a fitting finale to what has been a gruelling operational deployment.”

There will be rolling closures on the town centre roads affected by the parade to keep any disruption to traffic at a minimum.  Advisory signs will be placed on all routes in the weeks leading up to the event.