06 February 2019
East Belfast MP and Defence spokesperson Gavin Robinson was speaking after he introduced a ten minute rule bill in the House of Commons, with cross party support on the Armed Forces Covenant and the duty of public authorities.
He said, “As a nation we honour the commitment of those who served this Country for the civil and religious liberties we enjoy today. The Armed Forces pledged its commitment to honour those who so courageously served in the Armed Forced.
The Covenant is intended to be universal commitment and so too should the experience, care and compassion our veterans receive. But their experience is far from universal. The experience for veterans in Northern Ireland has been substandard and we should ensure its full implementation here.
Just last month the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire announced a consultation on legislative changes which would help veterans access social housing. However that will not include Northern Ireland.
Time and time again we see veterans treated as second class citizens when it comes to employment opportunities and housing, compared to their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland veterans have been let down.
While SF glorify the terrorism that existed in 70’s and 80’s, they block services to help support those who protected the people of Northern Ireland. We should say that no longer should our veteran population in Northern Ireland live with one hand tied behind their back. We owe them more than that.”