Soldier F named in Irish Parliament

Peadar Toibin condemned a UK Government plan to prohibit prosecutions of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for pre-1998 Troubles incidents.

Dominic McGrath
Wednesday 09 February 2022 14:55
Soldier F had been accused of murdering two men during Bloody Sunday in 1972 (PA)
Soldier F had been accused of murdering two men during Bloody Sunday in 1972 (PA)

An Irish TD has used parliamentary privilege to name a soldier who had been accused of murdering two men during Bloody Sunday in 1972.

The Irish politician made the intervention as he condemned a UK Government plan that would prohibit future prosecutions of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for Troubles incidents pre-dating April 1998.

Aontu leader Peadar Toibin was speaking in the Dail after a damning police watchdog report found officers in Northern Ireland had engaged in “collusive behaviours” with paramilitary killers

In a report published on Tuesday, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland Marie Anderson said she was “deeply concerned” by the scale and scope of the failings she had uncovered in her probe into murders and attempted murders carried out by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in south Belfast in the 1990s.

Eleven people were murdered in the eight loyalist attacks attributed to the UDA, or its Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) cover name, that were examined in the ombudsman’s 344-page report.

The dead included the five who lost their lives in the notorious Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity on the Ormeau Road in February 1992.

What I'm asking the Taoiseach to do is use every single tool... to make sure that there's an international investigation into murders by the British state in Ireland

Peadar Toibin

Mr Toibin told the Dail: “It’s not ancient history. This is in our lifetime, Taoiseach.

“And the perpetrators of these murders live in the same towns and villages as the families of the dead’s loved ones.

“Some of those securocrats still work within the security forces.

“Some of them have actually had promotions as a result of their activities.

“In many cases, the PSNI know who carried out these murders, but there seems to be no efforts to carry out proper convictions of these.

“What I’m asking the Taoiseach to do is use every single tool, including our position in the UN, to make sure that there’s an international investigation into murders by the British state in Ireland.

“I’m appealing also to the Irish Government to look at the creation of a historical inquiries team on this side of the border.”

It would, he said, “take evidence from people from the North trying to get to the heart of what happened to these people”.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the report was “deeply, deeply disturbing”.

He said the British Government needs to adhere to agreements on legacy issues in Northern Ireland.

“There has been too much foot dragging in relation to agreements that have been entered into,” he said.

Responding, Mr Toibin referenced the recent 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Londonderry, before naming Soldier F.

Soldier F had been facing charges of murdering James Wray and William McKinney on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in January 30 1972, when troops opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the city’s Bogside, killing 13 people.

However, last year it was announced that a prosecution would not proceed amid concerns the case could collapse in light of a separate court ruling on the admissibility of evidence which caused the collapse of another Troubles murder trial involving military veterans.

“Isn’t it shocking that we know the names of the people who lost their lives, the people who were murdered, but we don’t know the names of the people who perpetrated those murders,” Mr Toibin said.

He then named Soldier F in the Dail.

“Most people wouldn’t know the alphabet of British Army perpetrators of murder,” he said.

“We need to make sure that people know their names.”

Dail privilege protects TDs from being sued for defamation because of any comments made in the chamber.

Mr Martin did not respond directly to the naming of Soldier F.

He said his Government opposes the legacy proposals, which would also see the end of all legacy inquests and civil actions and prevent the Police Ombudsman from examining Troubles-related incidents.

“You are correct in saying that people want closure,” Mr Martin said. “They want details. They want to find out what happened to their loved ones, who killed their loved ones.”

Last year, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood used parliamentary privilege to name Soldier F in the House of Commons.

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