Belfast Telegraph

DUP secures 'Military Covenant' for veterans in Northern Ireland, Paisley claims

By Sue Doherty

The DUP's Ian Paisley has claimed that the party has won government agreement to ensure that military veterans in Northern Ireland receive the same benefits as veterans in the rest of the UK.

The Military Covenant is an undertaking that "the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Armed Forces and their families" and the DUP has long argued that the covenant is not being fully implemented in Northern Ireland.

Military Covenant must be adopted fully in Northern Ireland, we owe it to our soldiers

In a Tweet on Thursday, Ian Paisley, MP exclaimed that "Progress!!" had been made on the issue.

He acknowledged the "immense contribution" of military personnel from Northern Ireland to the Armed Forces and the "debt owed to our Armed Forces for the protection they provided during the successful execution of Operation Banner".

Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles, from August 1969 to July 2007.

Operation Banner was flawed, but it enabled Northern Ireland to escape civil war

The DUP, he added, "is conscious how equality legislation in Northern Ireland has been used to hamper the fulfilment of both the spirit and practical elements of the Covenant here.  It wishes to see this situation ended and veterans in Northern Ireland to be treated equally to veterans right across the United Kingdom."

The party is calling for the introduction of independent commissions in the four regions of the United Kingdom to ensure the covenant is fully implemented.

Mr Paisley's Tweet comes as the DUP is negotiating a deal in return for supporting the Conservatives, who fell eight MPs short of a majority in the General Election earlier this month.

Sinn Fein has voiced its opposition to the full implementation of the Military Covenant in Northern Ireland. Full implementation would require the consent of both the first and deputy first ministers at Stormont.

Sinn Fein is rapped over stalling of Armed Forces Covenant

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