ARMY RECRUITMENT GETS 'THUMBS DOWN' FROM STUDENTS

-- Economie --

Rapport de Celtic League
Porte-parole: Cathal Ó Luain

Publié le 27/09/07 8:52 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

Fought to a standstill in Ireland twenty years ago and currently about to 'cut and run' from Iraq the British Army is now coming under fire closer to home.

Already in difficulties following the decision at the annual conference of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) to oppose armed forces recruitment in schools and colleges the British Army has received a further setback following the formation of a students group to oppose recruitment.

Students from St Andrews in Glasgow and Edinburgh's Boroughmuir High School have formed School Students Against War (SSAW) this week to launch a campaign to stop the army targeting children as young as 14.

The young people have already gone on the offensive. Patrick Orr, a 5th year student at Edinburgh's Boroughmuir High School, led a recent picket against recruitment by the air cadets in his school, and believes the SSAW movement will keep growing. He said: «There's a strength of feeling among parents and teachers about this too.»

Meanwhile 14 year old Lorna McKinnon, a pupil at Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow, said: «I thought school was the one place you could get away from the horror of the Iraq war, so I was shocked to go into the playground one day and see a helicopter and 20 army guys trying to recruit us. This was without my or my parents' permission, and I had no choice but to listen ... but they won't get me.»

The stand taken by the EIS at its July conference has stimulated a wider debate on the issue. The SNP MSP, Christine Grahame, a former teacher who has campaigned against army recruitment in schools, shares the EIS belief that pupils in deprived areas have been targeted. She discovered that Govan High School in Glasgow received 14 regimental visits in one year. She said: «I'm delighted schoolchildren are taking up the campaign and I'd encourage schools to get involved. The army admitted to me in a letter it had been proactively recruiting, which is entirely inappropriate. One has to suspect it's because more soldiers are leaving than joining. Recruitment is in crisis, for obvious reasons.»

It is not simply in Scotland that there is a ground swell of opposition to Army recruitment. As we reported in January of this year similar sentiments to those now being articulated in Scotland were aired in Wales by Plaid Cymru.

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J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

02/09/07

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