Royal visits boost Irish recruits to British army
TWO Royal visits to Ireland in four years coupled with warming Anglo-Irish relations have delivered an unexpected recruiting boom for the British army.
Britain is now signing up a new recruit in the Republic on average every five days with evidence indicating a significant hike in recruitment since last January.
Anglo-Irish relations have improved still further following the success of Prince Charles' visit to Sligo and Galway last week.
That visit came four years after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, staged an historic trip to Dublin, Tipperary and Cork.
The latest recruitment figures for the British army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy showed dissident republican threats have failed to stem the numbers seeking a military career across the Irish Sea.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) figures showed 69 Irish citizens joined British defence units in 2013. That represents a stabilisation of recruitment which suffered a blip in 2012 after almost a decade of increase.
Anecdotal evidence has indicated a further increase last year - with a noticeable increase in recruits over the first quarter of 2015.
In 2012, 70 Irish citizens joined the British army which contrasted with 123 in 2011.
The 44pc decline between 2011/2012 was blamed on a bungled bid by dissident pepublicans to target a Limerick-born soldier.