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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



22 March 2019

It’s hard to believe we are fast approaching Easter. The last three months have been tre-mendously busy, yet very rewarding and satisfying for 2 R IRISH.  In January the Com-manding Officer issued his Statement of Intent for the year ahead, outlining his priorities and direction of travel for the next twelve months.  The key focus areas being Back to Basics training (B2B), expanding our footprint across Northern Ireland; with recruiting highlighted as the Main Effort.  Underpinning all of these activities, an emphasis was placed on physical fitness and mental robustness to enhance personal and collective re-silience across all ranks of the Battalion.

Back to Basics Training

The four Companies, A, B, C and HQ, have all set about their B2B training this year with real zest, imagination and the usual high standard of professionalism you would expect from our JNCOs, SNCOs and Officers.   Section and Platoon Commanders have been meticulous in their planning; maximizing time, space and opportunity.  The old adage of “you are limited to nothing more than your imagination” has been placed very much to the fore.  Training has included demolition and explosive charges, GPMG(SF) live firing, a plethora of Battle Exercises, including CASEVAC (in and out of contact); marksmanship & shooting, along with conceptual training and preparation for the new Army Physical Employment Standards.  Of note, C Coy, with real life support provided by HQ Coy, de-ployed to Otterburn Training Area and ran a first-class training package in late February.  All in all, a busy training period where everyone has stepped up and embraced the myri-ad of challenges the training space presents.

Expansion across Northern Ireland 

Late 2018 an opportunity presented itself to increase the size of the Battalion and en-hance our geographical footprint across Northern Ireland.  After a period of analysis and detailed planning, Newtownards, Limavady and Ballykinler were considered the three areas of vital ground where recruiting potential could be maximized, and a significant dif-ference could be made in terms of increasing Battalion numbers.  At the time of writing, we are on track to stand up a Platoon in Newtownards in April 2019.  The prospect of an additional Company, D Coy, is being developed for Limavady and a further Platoon for C Coy is being “war-gamed” for Ballykinler.  Hopefully more information will be available for the next update; at present plans and expectations are positive and certainly moving in the right direction. More news to follow – watch this space.


Complementing our expansion plans, and very much the Commanding Officer’s key fo-cus and Main Effort is recruiting and the aspiration to have the Battalion at full manning. The step change in our approach to digital media and communications has seen an in-crease in our reach and engagement across the recruiting spectrum and our key target audience.  As a result, applications have increased during the winter months, traditionally a quiet period for attracting suitable candidates to the Army Reserve.  In addition, a planned Recruiting Surge will take place April through to August.  Using social media platforms, marketing and advertising, intelligently, as the attract element of the cam-paign; the Recruiting Team will then travel around Northern Ireland, engaging face to face with the public, to deliver the inspire phase.  The combination of both highlighting the benefits and outstanding opportunities on offer within 2 R IRISH.         


The first three months of the year have been very much about planning and setting the conditions for the year ahead.  Much progress has been made to ensure we not only maximize our opportunities, but also that we are current, competent and delivering on the outputs we have been given.  Looking forward, we will be sending Short Term Training Teams to Macedonia, Bosnia and Uzbekistan.  With our individual and collective training focus switching to URBAN Warfare in preparation of our Annual Deployment Exercise in Sennybridge in the Autumn.