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During a telephone call on Thursday afternoon, DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster MLA congratulated Danny Kinahan on his appointment as Northern Ireland’s first Veterans Commissioner.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Foster said,

“This appointment represents a positive but long overdue step toward ensuring the needs of Northern Ireland’s large and vibrant demographic of Armed Forces veterans are practically understood and addressed.

For several years, we have pressed Her Majesty’s Government to provide for a dedicated champion of our former service personnel. We made delivery for our current and former service personnel a high priority during our Confidence and Supply Agreement with HMG. We were delighted to make the Commissioner’s inclusion a key component of the New Decade New Approach agreement.

I congratulate Danny on his appointment and wish him every success moving forward. He brings a wealth of experience to the role and I know he will be keen to embrace the huge in-tray that awaits.

The key focus of the new Commissioner must be the full implementation of, including a statutory duty to comply with, the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland. Local veterans should not be at a disadvantage compared to their colleagues elsewhere in the UK, or indeed other citizens, in accessing a range of important services.

Ultimately the fair and appropriate treatment of our former armed services personnel will help to underpin Northern Ireland’s strong and active contribution to our nation's defence for generations to come.

I urge the new Commissioner to engage proactively with veterans and their advocates to take the first step toward delivering on this vision in the coming days.”