Veterans’ Commissioner pledges to boost support for ex-service personnel

Northern Ireland’s first Veterans’ Commissioner has pledged to examine ways to support former service personnel following the funeral of an ex-soldier in Co Down.

Brett Savage’s parents have claimed their son was “failed” by the Ministry of Defence.

The 32-year-old Royal Irish veteran saw service in Afghanistan which included surviving the siege of Musa Qala in 2006. He was later diagnosed with PTSD.

Mr Savage was found dead at his home last weekend, and is believed to have taken his own life.

His funeral was held in Newtownards on Friday.

Veterans’ Commissioner Danny Kinahan described Mr Savage’s death as an “appalling tragedy”.

“Society must find a way to stop suicides and, in my role as the Veterans Commissioner for NI, I will ensure we explore what is behind such actions and put in place changes to ensure veterans are given the support they need, as and when they need it,” he said.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to anyone who serves their country and puts their own life at risk on behalf of society as a whole.

“It is therefore imperative that they are properly looked after when they leave the Armed Forces.

“The Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts were especially brutal and testing and those brave service personnel who experienced them, like Brett Savage, are heroes we must never forget.”

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