Belfast Telegraph

New veterans office is 'another smokescreen' to obstruct legacy progress - Sinn Fein MP

Francie Molloy
Francie Molloy

A Sinn Fein MP has said comments from the head of the newly established British government Office of Veterans Affairs are an insult to the victims of "state violence and collusion".

Francie Molloy said comments made by the new Minister for Defence Johnny Mercer that military veterans represent 'the pinnacle of British character' who should be protected by the government are a calculated insult to campaigners and victims.

Oliver Dowden, the Paymaster General and Cabinet Office Minister, will work closely with Johnny Mercer to represent veterans
Oliver Dowden, the Paymaster General and Cabinet Office Minister, will work closely with Johnny Mercer to represent veterans

Mr Mercer said on Monday that the UK is admired throughout the world for its armed forces. The rising star within the Conservative party was handed the role as part of a newly-created Office of Veterans Affairs by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"It is a stain on our national conscience that any veteran who has served should be abandoned by the country they have fought so courageously to protect," said Mr Mercer.

"It is absolutely right that the Government should do all it can to support our armed forces from the day they enlist and for the rest of their lives."

The Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy condemned the creation of the new office.

"The creation of this new office will be viewed by many campaigners and victims as a tactic for the British government to continue to obstruct efforts to address the legacy of the conflict and create another smokescreen to hide the role it played.

"It is further evidence that this British government's policy is aimed at giving current and former British soldiers immunity from prosecution," said Mr Molloy. 

"Suggestions of vexatious prosecution are total nonsense. Any attempts to create a hierarchy of victims by protecting perpetrators of murders and other serious crime committed by British state forces are totally unacceptable”.

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