Brenda Hale has been chosen to represent veterans' issues in Northern Ireland at future meetings of the Armed Forces Covenant Reference Group.

The Lagan Valley MLA, whose own husband was killed on duty in Afghanistan, has campaigned for better care for veterans and families in Northern Ireland.

Arrangements for the DUP politician to attend future meetings were confirmed by Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer MP before Christmas.

It follows a representation by then First Minister Arlene Foster to ensure that Northern Ireland was represented on the Covenant Reference Group.

Mrs Hale said: “I have been working on veterans' issues for many years now and ensured that Lord Ashcroft visited Northern Ireland when he was producing his Veterans Transition Review. 

“Those men and women from Northern Ireland who serve our nation do the same job as their colleagues from the rest of the UK and take the same risks as colleagues from the rest of the UK.

“As veterans they deserve to have the same voice.
“During an Assembly debate at the start of December I outlined that my Party Leader Arlene Foster had stated her support that I would be appointed to the Covenant Reference Group. 

“I am delighted that this has been facilitated by the Cabinet Office and I can pledge that I will be an untiring voice for the needs of veterans from Northern Ireland and across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“As an Armed Forces widow, as an elected representative and as Northern Ireland ambassador for ABF, the Soldiers Charity I know the contribution and sacrifice of veterans and their families. 

“Through the Covenant Reference Group I will ensure that their needs and voice are heard at a national level.”

Picture credit: robertpaulyoung

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