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Petticoat army fight UDF cuts.

An army of soldiers' wives have declared war on politicians over defence cuts.

They are furious about plans to streamline the 12,700-strong Ulster Defence Forces by sacking privates after five years' service.

Ministers have always promised that numbers would only be cut by voluntary retirement.

But the new plan says that if recruits haven't reached the rank of corporal within five years, they will be thrown out.

John Lucey, secretary of the Permanent Defence Forces Representatives, said Army wives may stand as anti-Government candidates in elections.

He added: "Wives want these proposals thrown out because they severely affect their families.

"We want a proper merit system and fitness regime and not something that's just decided on age.

"If the wives' fears aren't heard, our control over the situation will vanish."

The reorganisation plan follows a scathing consultants' report which branded the UDF an elderly "Dad's Army" with an average age of 32.

It also found there were eight soldiers for every officer, compared to a ratio of 28 to 1 in the Israeli Army.
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Author:Brady, Joe
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 21, 1996
Words:175
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