‘It is perverse that ex-soldiers are singled out’

Press Eye - Belfast Northern - Ireland - 14th April 2017 

Around 150 veterans and their supporters  from the Justice For Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV) group gather at the City Hall front gates, in protest at criminal proceedings being brought against soldiers involved in fatal shootings during the Troubles.  

A counter demonstration by dissident group Saoradh took place in the city centre at the same time.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast Northern - Ireland - 14th April 2017 Around 150 veterans and their supporters from the Justice For Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV) group gather at the City Hall front gates, in protest at criminal proceedings being brought against soldiers involved in fatal shootings during the Troubles. A counter demonstration by dissident group Saoradh took place in the city centre at the same time. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Veteran’s campaigners said they were delighted with the turnout of former soldiers in Belfast, and said they “won’t stand by and watch” their former comrades being “singled out” for prosecution.

Jim McCaw, who served in the Royal Artillery, UDR and the Royal Irish Regiment said: “We feel the veterans are being left behind. We are not looking for anything special. We are looking for equality.

“There are people here who have been through the courts twice, found not guilty and now being put through the courts again. It is totally unacceptable, especially when people are getting on-the-run letters and royal pardons.”

Former UDR soldier James McDowell said “people will have to realise that veterans won’t stand by and watch their former comrades be discriminated against”.

Mr McDowell added: “When you have a former member of the Household Cavalry being dragged through the courts while a former IRA man, suspected of killing members of the Household Cavalry [in the Hyde Park bombing] has immunity, then that can’t be right. It is totally perverse that former soldiers are being singled out like this.”

DUP MP Gavin Robinson said it was important to turn out to “recognise the ultimate sacrifice of those who served this country so well and recognise the calls for justice.”