Northern Ireland

Massereene barracks, scene of Real IRA attack, for sale

Massereene Barracks
Image caption Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were shot by Real IRA gunmen at the barracks

A former Army base where two soldiers were murdered has been put on the commercial property market.

In March 2009 dissident republicans killed two soldiers at the gates of Massereene Barracks, in Antrim, as they collected a pizza order.

Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, of 38 Engineering regiment, were preparing to leave for Afghanistan when they were shot by Real IRA gunmen.

The base closed as part of military restructuring two years later.

Magherafelt man Brian Shivers, 46, was convicted of the murders and is serving a life sentence.

The soldiers were the first to be murdered in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was killed by an IRA sniper in 1997 and are remembered on a plaque at the town's cenotaph.

Paul Michael, an Ulster Unionist Party councillor, who helped organise the memorial in the town, said the barracks site may be suitable for tourism development.

Torpedo factory

"There is a lot of history on the site. It used to have torpedo factory and they would fire them out on the lough before the army took it over," he said.

"In the current market I don't think that it will be sold any time soon though."

Mr Michael, who is also chairman of the town's branch of the Royal British Legion, added: "We knew that the MoD was leaving the base and that was why it was decided that the memorial would be in Market Square.

"We'd talked with the family and it was preferable that the plaque was there rather than on a former base which would be unoccupied."

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which manages the military estate, has instructed the Belfast Office of agents GVA NI to handle the sale.

The complex stretches to almost 17 hectares and includes more than 37,000 sq metres of buildings and warehouse space.

It includes existing dental and medical facilities, accommodation, and a jetty onto Lough Neagh.