I appreciate my hon. Friend's answer, but will he do his utmost to ensure that the balance of recruitment and the balance of retention are improved between the different religions in the Province, as this matter gives rise to great anxiety?
I accept entirely what my hon. Friend says. As I have already mentioned, we are considering all possible ways of improving the situation. It is doubtful whether anything spectacular can be done in the short run, but for the present our efforts to recruit more Roman Catholics are local in character, mainly through personal contact and the local work of battalion and company commanders. The UDR Advisory Council believes that at present this is the right line.
Yesterday my hon. Friend was kind enough to give me some statistics of recent recruitment to the UDR. Does he not agree that there has been a marked falling off in applications to join this regiment from both communities in the last few months and an increase in the number of resignations? Will he do his best to accelerate recruitment?
I do not entirely accept what my hon. Friend says. Recruitment generally is going well. The cause for concern is the falling off in the level of recruitment from the Roman Catholic side.