The Northern Ireland Veterans Commissioner’s Office held its first Veterans’ Information Roadshow this week in Cookstown.
The aim of the Information Roadshows is to better inform veterans of ‘veteran friendly’ services and organisations within their local and regional areas that can assist, if and when needed. In Cookstown there was an excellent turnout from the veteran community who were able to engage with the 17 support organisations in attendance and also listen to informative presentations on the role and remit of the Veterans’ Support Office; the work of Inspire Wellbeing, one of the mental health charities that supports veterans across the island of Ireland, and the Victims Payment Scheme.
During the course of the event, the Veterans Commissioner, Mr Danny Kinahan, made the following remarks;
“One of the main issues that I’ve heard from veterans as I’ve travelled throughout Northern Ireland is that many veterans don’t know where to go for help or don’t know what support is out there for them. It is therefore hoped that these Roadshows will go some way to help address this problem.
“Since becoming Veterans Commissioner, I have visited Cookstown on a number of occasions and would like to record my thanks to the members of Mid Ulster Victims Empowerment (MUVE), the local Ulster Defence Regiment Association and Cookstown Royal British Legion for all their assistance over the past year and thank them for their sterling work on behalf of victims, survivors and veterans in this area – your work is invaluable and the positive contribution you make to the lives of many should not be underestimated.
“I recently had the privilege to attend the excellent UDR 50th anniversary exhibition in Cookstown British Legion. This type of exhibition is something that needs to happen more often, across our province, where local veterans can tell their story and educate our young people about the great contribution that you all made in upholding law and order during the dark days of our Troubles.
“Many of you here today willingly put on the uniform, knowing that your service placed you at great risk, every hour of every day, and you had no respite on duty, off duty or even after leaving the Army. When our country faced the terrorist onslaught thousands answered the call to stand in the front line against terrorism and many sadly made the supreme sacrifice. We must never forget those who lost their lives and we owe our service personnel deep thanks, gratitude and the utmost respect. So thank you for all you have done.
“As your voice I will continue to use my position to press and influence our political representatives, whether at Westminster or here locally, the statutory agencies and others to ensure they fulfil their responsibilities, and I will do my utmost to be a strong voice and tireless advocate on behalf of all veterans who have given so much in service to their country”.
The Veterans Commissioner’s Office plans to hold a number of other Information Roadshows throughout the year and dates have already been confirmed for Antrim on 8th February, Portadown, 24th March and Coleraine on 26th March. For further information please email email@example.com or call 07971 833160.