Council to appoint veterans advocate

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Derry City Council will meet this afternoon to appoint a representative to liaise with a body that campaigns on behalf of current and retired members of the British armed forces.

In September the Council voted to appoint a representative to the British Army Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee following a presentation from members of the group.

The decision sparked controversy at the time with Sinn Féin describing the move as “unacceptable.”

The proposal to appoint a representative to the body was supported by councillors from the SDLP, DUP and UUP.

The Army Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee has branches throughout the UK and lobbies on behalf of retired service personal, as well service personnel. It also advocates on behalf of troops who served in the North.

Speaking after the vote, Sinn Féin councillor Barney McFadden said Derry City Council should not be supporting the organisation.

“It is certainly inappropriate and highly insensitive for a body such as this to be invited in to Derry City Council seeking a person to advocate on behalf of the British armed forces.

“There are still a number of families in this city and throughout Ireland who are seeking justice for the actions committed against them by those British military forces,” he said.

SDLP Councillor Gerard Diver accused Sinn Fein of shifting their position.The issue will be discussed at the monthly meeting of Derry City Councillors this afternoon when councillors will decide who the Council’s representative to the body should be.

It is unclear if Sinn Féin will make a nomination to the body given the party’s previous objection.