Ian Paisley MP speaks out for Ballymena war hero in Parliament.
This week in the House of Commons, Ian Paisley our MP called on the Government to explain their treatment of local Ballymena war hero, Philip Gillespie.
Philip was on tour with the Royal Irish Regiment in Afganistan in January 2011, when he stepped on an improvised expolosive device and lost his right leg. However, undeterred by his injuries, Philip has become an inspirational figure in Northern Ireland and beyond for others who have to deal with such traumatic life-changing events. He recently completed the 6000 mile gruelling Dakur rally as part of fundraising for RacetoRecovery and continues to prove that life can and does go on after such serious injury.
However the hero recently went to see our Member of Parliament concerning a matter of grave concern. After a medical assessment the Government informed Philip that he would no longer be entitled to Disability Living Allowance because he uses a prosthetic limb and can therefore walk unimpeded. Philip then went from March until May without receiving his payments because of this reason.
Ian Paisley was disgusted by the treatment of war veteran Philip. Speaking in the House of Commons he said:
“What would the Minister say to my constituent, Philip Gillespie, who served our nation in Afghanistan and lost his right leg in an explosion there? Last month, he lost his disability living allowance and was told that he would be caught up by the new military system that is soon to be put in place. I hope that he will be caught up by it, but will the Minister ensure that this never happens again, and that a soldier serving this nation is never refused a benefit to which he is entitled?”
Philip has since received payments under the newly implemented military system, but still lost out on money in the months intervening.
Paisley spoke afterwards of his astonishment that an injured soldier would be treated in such a way:
“I think it’s an complete and utter outrage that one of our country’s bravest men, who was injured serving us in Afghanistan, was subsequently refused DLA by a bureaucrat who quite obviously could never contemplate what Philip had to go through.
I am obviously pleased he is now covered under the military system, but the fact of the matter remains that he should never have had to come and see me over such callous mistreatment from our Government system.
The purpose of raising this in the House of Commons was to ensure that this is an isolated incident, and that our war heroes are always honoured and respected with whatever they need after fighting so valiantly for our country away from home. I sincerely hope this is the end of the matter, and that bureaucrats who make these outrageous decisions sit down and reflect at what such a person did for our country and just how they deserve to be treated moving forward.”