Ulster Unionist Leader Tom Elliott has hailed the courage of Sergeant Ryan McCready and paid tribute to all those who serve in our Armed Forces.
Mr Elliott said;
“Like everyone else who saw the Wednesday night’s television programme honouring our troops, I was struck by the bravery and courage displayed by the men and women of our Armed Forces.
I was especially proud to see a Northern Ireland soldier receive the Most Outstanding Soldier award from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Prince William described Londonderry’s Sergeant Ryan McCready as follows – ‘You exemplify to an extraordinary degree the unique qualities that make the British soldier second to none: courage, steadfastness, professionalism, sense of humour and a deep humanity.’
Certainly Sergeant McCready is an outstanding example of the type of men and women which this country can produce. He is part of a long and distinguished British military tradition and it was most poignant that he dedicated the award to his three comrades who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
The tragic losses of Ranger Aaron McCormick from Macosquin, Ranger David Dalzell from Bangor and Lance Corporal Stephen McKee from Banbridge were a stark reminder of the terrible price we ask our servicemen and women to pay in defence of the freedoms which we all too often take for granted.
At this time of year when families get together to celebrate Christmas, I would like to ask everyone to spare a thought for all our servicemen and women who cannot be in their homes this Christmas, and also for their families who have to spend Christmas without loved ones present because of service overseas. They are in our thoughts and prayers always, but especially at this time of year.”