The DUP’s Defence Spokesperson and MP for East Belfast Gavin Robinson has reiterated his Party’s support for the Overseas Operations Bill but warned that the Government cannot continue to ignore its commitment to equal protections for soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.
Commenting, Mr Robinson said:
‘‘It is absolutely appropriate and justified that members of our Armed Forces receive protection against vexatious claims and repeated investigations long after they have served. For too often the needs of veterans have been side-lined. This Bill amplifies their practical concerns and as such the DUP continues to give it our support.
We remain deeply concerned, however, that the Government’s commitment to introducing provisions with equal weight and effect for those personnel who proudly served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles has not yet been honoured. We would have liked to seen these servants placed in the scope of the current Bill.
It is wrong that Ministers play fast and loose with the needs and expectations of some 300,000 veterans who served in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner.
The Government needs to deliver now for veterans in all parts of the United Kingdom no matter when they served or where they served. Ultimately this is about protecting those who protected us. The DUP will continue to press for substantive and urgent progress.’’