Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Army chaplain opposed to parade

David Latimer
David Latimer spent three months in Afghanistan

A Londonderry clergyman who has just returned from Afghanistan with the Territorial Army has said he is opposed to a homecoming parade for troops.

The Reverend David Latimer, of First Derry Presbyterian Church, said he would prefer a church service.

"Frankly, I would have loved a service of thanksgiving and only a service of thanksgiving," he said.

But Michael Pepper, whose son David was injured while serving in Afghanistan, said returning troops deserve a parade.

"The last two times he was out there he didn't get any recognition," said Mr Pepper.

"I don't see why there is a problem with letting the troops march the streets for the people to show their appreciation and their pride in what the troops have done.

"How long does it take for the wounds of what happened in Northern Ireland to heal?"

Rev Latimer also said he had "serious doubts" about the war after three months in Helmand Province.

"Guns and bombs do not take you to a complete resolution. How many casualties do we want?" he said.

"From where I am standing now, I would say, if we feel we have gone to the absolute limit in talking, then I would say please don't stop, continue," he said.

Mr Latimer had previously said that homecoming parades should go ahead but that they should not be used as a "political football".

Reverend backs RIR return parades
22 Aug 08 |  Foyle and West
Derry minister off to Afghanistan
21 May 08 |  Foyle and West

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