Northern Ireland news

DUP defends use of Dutch soldiers as it highlights support for veterans

The DUP Facebook post with Dutch military uniforms

THE DUP has defended its use of an image of Dutch soldiers to promote the party's support for the British Army.

A DUP-branded graphic featuring military personnel was shared on Facebook at the weekend with the message "valuing our veterans and soldiers".

But within minutes of it appearing people started querying the soldiers' uniform and whether it was of the type worn by the British Army.

Military veteran and UUP Upper Bann candidate Doug Beattie asked: "Which military are the DUP valuing in this picture?"

The former Royal Irish Ranger, who served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Northern Ireland, told The Irish News that the uniform belonged to the Dutch military and could be identified by a small pouch on the lower leg.

"It may appear a trivial matter but for veterans this sort of stuff matters," he said.

"When you see that the DUP can get something like this wrong it shows they are perhaps not across the jot and tittle on other important issues."

A statement from the DUP said the graphic highlighted how through its confidence and supply deal with the Tories the DUP helped maintain a British government commitment to spend of 2 per cent of GDP on defence.

"Rather than worrying about the colour of trousers, the UUP would be better to stand with us on our commitments than poking holes in a Facebook post," the statement said.

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