David Ford said: “I welcome this move by the Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter. It recognises that those who left the Irish Free State forces to join the fight against fascism and tyranny were not deserters in the usual sense of the term. These men who fought bravely and with honour to rid Europe of fascism should have been commended instead of condemned.
“This legislation before the Dail recognises the discriminations they faced when they returned to Ireland following the Emergency.
“It also plays a part in reconciliation in these Islands and recognises the shared values we have in our history. Just last year, both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste laid wreaths in Enniskillen and Belfast during remembrance services highlighting the fact that people from all backgrounds came together and fought side by side in both World Wars One and Two.”