'Assess military covenant shortfalls'

'Assess military covenant shortfalls'

Steps must be taken to ensure armed forces members in Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged, a report has claimed.

The paper was published by the NI Affairs Committee at Westminster.

It says there are shortfalls in provision of healthcare, housing and education.

Calls were made to tackle these issues and for the Executive to fully implement the 2011 Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the state's moral obligation to members of the military and sets the standards for the level of service veterans and their families can expect.

Conservative MP Laurence Robertson, who chairs the committee, said: "We absolutely support the principle that members of the armed forces and their families must not be disadvantaged by their service to their country and all that it entails.

"Of course we recognise that the political and legal situation in NI makes issues relating to the armed forces delicate and potentially contentious, but this should not mean that the armed forces community in Northern Ireland is disadvantaged."

An inquiry into the implementation of the Covenant here was launched by the committee last year and found specific benefits such as improved access to IVF treatment, priority in accessing NHS healthcare, additional priority in accessing social housing and certain educational entitlements were available for members of the military in the UK but not NI.

© UTV

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