City Army barracks is to close

Army installations have been taken down as part of normalisation

Two military installations in north Belfast are to close as part of security normalisation, Chief Constable Hugh Orde has announced.

Girdwood Army base on the Antrim Road is to close and an observation post at Oldpark police station will also go.

Mr Orde said he made the decision following a security assessment.

He said he was satisfied that there would be no reduction in the ability of the Army to provide support to the police.

The closure of Girdwood is expected to take between six and nine months to complete. The removal of the observation post at Oldpark will take between two to three weeks.

The area's MP, Nigel Dodds of the DUP, criticised the decision.

"This decision is totally wrong in light of the continuing exposure of the utterly bogus and fraudulent nature of the IRA's commitment to peace," he said.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said it was a move his party had been pushing for in negotiations on the political process.

"Girdwood covers over 23 acres of land in north Belfast, an area that suffers significant multiple deprivation," he said.

"The site should have been returned to the local community long ago in order to provide an area of substantial redevelopment."

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