Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 12:04 UK

Reverend backs RIR return parades

David Latimer
David Latimer says RIR soldiers should get homecoming parades

A clergyman from Londonderry working as a chaplain with the TA in Afghanistan has called for homecoming parades for Royal Irish Regiment soldiers.

Reverend David Latimer has been with the TA's medical team in Helmand Province for the last two months.

He gave spiritual assistance to Ranger David Pepper from the Waterside after he was injured in a roadside bombing.

Rev Latimer said homecoming parades should go ahead but they should not be used as a political football.

"I certainly would want any homecoming parade to be as representative as possible, and certainly coming from Derry I know that some people would find it difficult.

"We have to recognise they will and we shouldn't be pushing them where they don't want to go.

"I don't want to get one-upmanship because we've had all that in the past and we want to develop a new way of thinking and a new way of living.

"Please God, it has started," he said.

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