THE Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is to listen to a Coleraine family’s appeal to have “Purple Heart” style medals awarded to all Royal Irish soldiers killed or maimed on active duty in Afghanistan.
Margaret and Lesley McCormick - the parents of 22-year-old Ranger Aaron McCormick, killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday, 2010 - have been invited to a morning meeting at Stormont with Owen Paterson on December 16 to discuss their running campaign, which is being backed by The Coleraine Times.
A petition demanding recognition for all those who made the supreme sacrifice was started by the Macosquin family after Ranger McCormick was omitted from an MoD honours’ list in October.
Mrs McCormick said that the invite to Stormont had come after two e-mails to Mr Paterson and also a phone call to his personal secretary.
“I can only speak for Aaron of course,” she said, “but it’s about all those who are injured or killed being recognised.”
As the Times reported earlier this month, the McCormicks have received an assurance from Prime Minister David Cameron that he will personally intervene to examine the disparity between the posthumous honours’ systems in the UK and the US.
“Four more soldiers have been killed over there this week,” reflected Margaret who added that she has received 15 letters of support for her cause from MPs, MLAs and councillors.”
Currently the UK does not automatically recognised any soldiers who die for their country relying instead on commanding officers making personal recommendations based on whether or not they believe a soldier committed an “act of bravery” and is worthy of a medal.
Anyone wishing to add their support to the e-petition can do so online at epititions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19048.