Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to sign Armed Forces Covenant after deferral bid fails
and live on Freeview channel 276
The covenant is a pledge to “acknowledge and understand that those who serve or have served in the armed forces and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they served”.
By signing the covenant, the council is “recognising those who are or who have performed military duty and the value of their contribution”, a report to councillors said.
It also means the local authority “commits to acknowledge, support and understand the needs of those and their families who are serving or have served in the armed forces”.
Other local authorities that have signed are: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council; Causeway Coast and Glens; Ards and North Down Borough Council; Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.
Threemilewater DUP Alderman Stephen Ross proposed the council signs the Armed Forces Covenant and invites the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Commissioner Danny Kinahan, a former Ballyclare Ulster Unionist councillor, to make a presentation to the committee.
Airport Sinn Fein Cllr Maighréad Ní Chonghaile asked for a deferral saying she had only received the document a few days ago and has not had enough time to “scrutinise and analyse” it.
“Given the sensitivity around such a document, I do not feel I have had appropriate time. There is a massive legacy to be considered around survivors and victims.”
Ald Ross said he would not be backing any deferral.
Dunsilly Sinn Fein Councillor Annie O’Lone seconded her party colleague’s proposed amendment. It was defeated in a vote by three councillors in favour and nine against.
Ald Ross’s proposal to accept the recommendation to sign the covenant was carried after nine votes in favour and three against.
Commenting after the meeting, Glengormley DUP Councillor Alison Bennington, the council’s Veterans’ Champion, said: “The covenant focuses on helping members of the Armed Forces community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizens. This support is provided in a number of areas including: education and family well-being and having a home.”
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter