17/11/2010

Tragic RIR Soldier Honoured In Commons

The Remembrance Sunday blast death of a Co Londonderry soldier - which took the toll of UK service personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 344 - has been recalled.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid tribute to the Royal Irish Regiment's Ranger Aaron McCormick today and said he was "tough, selfless, good humoured and full of compassion".

Mr Cameron also told the House of Commons: "He showed astonishing bravery, leading the way in clearing IEDs for the safety of local civilians and his fellow soldiers." He said that Ranger McCormick (who is pictured here) was just 22-years-old and came from Macosquin, Londonderry and that he was helping to clear roadside bombs in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand when he was caught in the blast.

Today, as a special assembly was held at his former school, Coleraine Academical Institution, on Wednesday, the DUP's North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds also expressed his sympathy to the family of Aaron McCormick who died serving with the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment.

During Prime Minister's Question Time Mr Dodds said: "The tragic death of Ranger Aaron McCormick on Remembrance Sunday reminds us of the sacrificial role being played by our troops in Afghanistan.

"This was a particularly poignant death as we heard the sad news as we returned from our respective remembrance services.

"Many of the soldiers serving in Afghanistan are from Ulster through the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards therefore it brings the war and effects of war closer to home as many families are directly affected by the daily events in Afghanistan.

"I pay tribute to the work that these soldiers are doing particularly in training the Afghan security forces.

"This is a dangerous and sacrificial role but vitally import if Afghanistan is to be normalised.

"I agree with the Prime Minister that it is only by 'skilling' and equipping the Afghan security forces that our boys will be able to withdraw from the country and return home," he concluded.

First Minister Peter Robinson has already visited the family of Ranger Aaron McCormick.

The DUP leader was accompanied by local MP Gregory Campbell and MLAs Adrian McQuillan and George Robinson as they paid their respects on Tuesday.

See: Shock As RIR Soldier Dies In Afghan Blast

(BMcC/GK)

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