Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons on 9th November 2022.
What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support veterans in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing, one of the most horrific losses of life during the troubles. Our thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones that day and others who are immediately affected by what took place. I will be in Enniskillen this Sunday to pay my respects.
My Department and I hold regular conversations with Cabinet colleagues and Departments—including the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, whose Minister I met with yesterday, and the Ministry of Defence—to ensure that veterans can access support, no matter where they live in the United Kingdom.
I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will provide certainty to those who served in Northern Ireland by ending the cycle of reinvestigations that has burdened too many for too long?
The Bill, which is continuing its parliamentary passage, seeks to deliver better outcomes for all those affected by the troubles. We have consulted widely on this crucial issue, and much of what we have heard is reflected in the legislation. I obviously concur with my hon. Friend’s view.
I spoke to the Secretary of State beforehand, so he will know about this question. Is the Secretary of State aware of the disgraceful treatment of Royal Ulster Constabulary veterans in the form of the disablement pension, which is being administered contrary to legal judgments in place? Will he make contact with the Department of Justice’s permanent secretary to rectify this despicable situation immediately? People have been waiting for 20 or 30 years for this and it is not sorted out yet.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, which he raised with me just a few moments ago. I would appreciate it if he would write to me about the subject so that I can take it up further, as he requested.