Police and soldiers were shielded from prosecution

editorial image

Claims of a legal witch hunt against former British soldiers who served during the Troubles in Northern Ireland have been made during a rally of British army veterans in Belfast.

The former soldiers claim there is a prosecutorial bias against former British soldiers over killings during the Troubles.

The Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire also claims investigations into killings during the Troubles are disproportionately focusing on members of the police and Army.

This claim is without a shred of evidence or credibility. Available evidence suggests that the British government shelving of the in-depth investigations by John Stalker and Colin Sampson on British shoot-to-kill policy and the Stevens report on British security force collusion with loyalists which resulted in countless killings, in fact shielded British soldiers and police from prosecution.

Does Mr Brokenshire need reminding that British soldiers and police in the North were and are acting on behalf of the British state and are a constitutional arm of the UK government, and recognised so internationally in law. Those who opposed by force British rule in Ireland were not acting on behalf of the Irish people.

Conversely, Lieut Col Derek Wilford, the officer commanding the Parachute Regiment which was responsible for the unlawful killing of 13 unarmed civilians in Derry in 1972 was awarded an OBE.

Forty five years after the massacre in Derry he still retains this award.

Tom Cooper, Chairperson, Irish National Congress, Dublin