Campbell: RAF jobs poster protest ‘a throwback to past’

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell

A DUP MP has branded a controversy over a British military recruitment poster in Londonderry as a throwback to years gone by.

Gregory Campbell has written to the RAF to encourage them to ensure that the whole of the UK should be open for recruiters to advertise the force’s jobs, and that no areas should be out-of-bounds.

It follows the removal of the advert for jobs in the RAF Reserves, which was sited on a billboard in the Brandywell area of Londonderry.

Mr Campbell said that prior to its removal, it was defaced by “dissident republicans”.

In his letter to the Officer Commanding the 502 Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force at Aldergrove, the East Londonderry MP also expressed his hope that the recruitment authorities “will assist in bringing those responsible to justice”.

Mr Campbell said: “This controversy is not just a throwback to the troubled past of Northern Ireland when universities banned the armed forces from promoting the TA and Officer Training Corps, but it betrays a mindset which has been long prevalent amongst nationalists and republicans.

“Since the very creation of Northern Ireland, protesting nationalists called on people from their community not to take up employment in either the police or the civil service in an attempt to undermine the newly-established state.

“After this tactic was unsuccessful over a period of decades they then protested in the late 1960s about a lack of employment by the state. The current protest smacks exactly of the same type of approach.”

The SDLP’s Emmet Doyle had said the advert could cause “hurt and distress” in the area, as it came ahead of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Mr Campbell called on the SDLP to clarify its stance, asking “is it all right for young Roman Catholics to apply to join the police but not acceptable to join the RAF?”.