§ Mr. Madden
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total number of British forces currently stationed in Northern Ireland; what the figure was in August in each year since 1993; and what plans there are to withdraw British forces from Northern Ireland during the coming year. 
§ Mr. Soames
There are currently some 16,500 members of the armed forces stationed in Northern Ireland. This figure includes Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel as well as nine general service infantry battalions and six home service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment. In both August 1993 and August 1994 the equivalent figure was approximately 19,000; by August 1995 this had fallen to approximately 17,500.
Force levels in Northern Ireland are kept continually under review. Since the terrorist ceasefires in 1994 three major units deployed in the infantry role have been relocated from Northern Ireland to bases elsewhere. Future measure of this kind will depend on the security situation.