Andy Allen, the Ulster Unionist Party's North Belfast spokesperson, has welcomed as a step in the right direction, a motion passed by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to adopt an Armed Forces Community Covenant.
The North Belfast spokesperson said:
“I wholeheartedly welcome the motion which was passed at Monday night's meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, to sign an Armed Forces Community Covenant. This is a step in the right direction.
“A Community Covenant complements, at a local level, the Armed Forces covenant and its aim is to encourage local communities to support the armed forces community within their area and promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the armed forces community. Signatories to a Community Covenant have access to a grant scheme of £10 million per year as part of the Community Covenant Grant Scheme.
“The Community Covenant is about building understanding of the Armed Forces in our community and is a positive declaration of intent to ensure those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families are not disadvantaged by that service.
“I hope in the coming weeks we will see other councils follow the example of the ABC Council who passed their motion with no objections, as common sense has prevailed.
“I would urge the MOD to endorse this motion - and indeed any other motion from Northern Ireland councils - to help bring about a better understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the armed forces community whilst also helping support the Armed Forces Community living in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.”