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Thinking of joining the army? Think twice!

On Sunday 12 February, peace activists with the Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education Network (INNATE) lobbied a British Army recruitment fair at the Kinnegar base, in Co Down, N Ireland.

Flyers were distributed to potential new recruits and others attending the event, outlining both the negative consequences of army enlisting and the alternatives available to potential recruits. They also promoted the confidential advice service At Ease for those who do join the army. The independent service informs and counsels young soldiers on the often-confusing rules that regulate their rights after enrolment.

The direct approach

The group met at the gates of the base at 12.30pm and asked the guard to allow them to hand leaflets to potential recruits. The guard declined and leaflet distribution began at the edge of the grounds and continued successfully. The location turned out to be helpful, as many of those going to the recruitment fair didn't know its exact location and so slowed down, asking the group for directions. Most took an offered leaflet. The police, having been summoned by the base, stopped by, but were very cordial.

INNATE co-ordinator, Rob Fairmichael, explained why this action was taken: “Many new recruits are not aware of the full implications of army life. I know that some young people, especially young men, come out of the British Army after a number of years and they either regret the experience or feel that it was not of the benefit to them that they had believed it would be.”

In May, a new recruitment session is planned. Contact INNATE for possible action at this event.

INNATE, 028 9064 7106; email innate@ntlworld.com; http://www.innatenonviolence.org. At Ease, http://www.atease.org.uk. INNATE members and their flyers, outside the Kinnegar military base.