Paisley: ‘Give officers who shot IRA man medals’

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley

Police officers involved in the killing of the IRA’s Colum Marks should be given medals rather than investigated, ministers have been told.

Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley said the RUC officer who “dispatched” Marks in Downpatrick, Co Down, 26 years ago will be “traumatised” by another investigation based on “dodgy and fragile, fake” evidence.

He added the British state should be honouring the officer and his team for “taking out one of Ulster’s worst terrorist criminals” rather than “dragging them through the process of constantly going over what they did”.

Lawyers for the Marks’ family confirmed in June 2016 that the police ombudsman was launching a fresh investigation into the killing after a new eyewitness account emerged.

Police claims that Marks was armed and refused to stop when an attempt was made to arrest him are disputed, with the family’s lawyers labelling it a “shoot-to-kill” operation by the RUC.

The DUP’s Jim Shannon echoed calls for a medal and labelled Marks an “evil, obnoxious, psychopathic, multiple killer”.

Mr Shannon earlier broke down in tears as he called for justice for four young soldiers who were killed in an IRA roadside bomb.

“The Strangford MP was overcome by emotion when describing the deaths of UDR soldiers John Birch, John Bradley, Michael Adams and Steven Smart. They died when the IRA detonated a 1,000lb bomb under their vehicle in 1990 in Downpatrick.

He railed against the “odious, filthy, scum” involved in the murders, saying this included Marks – who he branded “vile and despicable” for his role in the bombing.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Paisley asked Mr Shannon: “Do you agree with me that the evening that Marks was dispatched, as you so colourfully put it, the team that was involved in that should be given medals for the service they did to our country in taking out one of Ulster’s worst terrorist criminals?”

Mr Shannon replied: “I couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s exactly how I feel about it. The day that evil, obnoxious, psychopathic, multiple killer was put in the grave was a day that Ulster was a better place.”

Mr Paisley later told Northern Ireland minister Kris Hopkins: “In this particular case, the officer who dispatched Marks has now been through three individual inquests.

“I know the chap personally, he’s a friend of mine growing up. He has gone through an ombudsman’s inquest and now hanging over him is a second ombudsman’s inquest on the basis of the most dodgy and fragile, fake evidence that has been produced.

“He will be dragged through that whole process again. His wife and his family will be traumatised by it and that’s why I said he and his team should have been given a medal that night.”