Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein to 'resolutely oppose' any preferential treatment for British soldiers

Gerry Adams has pledged to "resolutely oppose" any preferential treatment for British soldiers as part of the Tory/DUP deal.

The parties to Monday's supply and confidence arrangement at Westminster agreed measures to address Northern Ireland's toxic past should not unfairly focus on former members of the armed forces.

They have also reiterated their admiration for servicemen's courage amid suggestions special treatment in areas such as medical treatment could be in the offing.

Sinn Fein president Mr Adams said: "We are committed to equality.

"Sinn Fein will resolutely oppose any attempt to give preferential treatment to British forces, either in terms of legacy or the provision of public services."

The DUP's accord with the Conservatives said legacy bodies for addressing the fall-out from thousands of Troubles killings should be established in a fair, proportionate and balanced fashion.

It warned undue focus should not be placed on former members of the armed forces or police.

Former soldiers have held protests after ex-members of the Armed Forces were charged with Troubles offences.

Veterans have complained that the Military Covenant, which means that former members of the armed forces in Great Britain are entitled to some priority medical treatment, and assistance with housing and school places for children, is not being fully implemented in Northern Ireland.

The Conservatives/DUP statement said: "Both parties reiterate their admiration for the courage and sacrifice of the police and armed forces in upholding democracy and the rule of law and will never forget the debt of gratitude that we owe them."

The Queen's Speech to Parliament earlier this month said: "My ministers will continue to invest in our gallant armed forces, meeting the NATO commitment to spend at least two per cent of national income on defence, and delivering on the Armed Forces Covenant across the United Kingdom."

Unionists have interpreted that as an agreement to ensure that provisions of the covenant will be implemented in Northern Ireland in the same way as other parts of the UK.

Mr Adams also claimed the pact between the Conservatives and DUP provided a blank cheque for a Tory Brexit which threatens the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

He added: "The price of today's DUP-Tory deal is DUP support for continued Tory austerity and cuts to public services.

"It provides a blank cheque for a Tory Brexit which threatens the Good Friday Agreement."

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