The UK Government, under the premiership of Teresa May, decided that veterans, ordered to deal with violent skirmishes during “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, could and should be prosecuted.
It was Sunday 30th January 1972; Northern Ireland was a battleground of political and religious sectarian strife.
Escalating violence and an increased number of bombings carried out for political purposes made Northern Ireland a hotbed for terrorism.
The Stormont government at the time decided the only way it could maintain order was to imprison suspected terrorists without trial; this is known as internment.
DEFIANCE LEADING TO DEATH
Thousands of people gathered in Derry; the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association organised the event to protest internment even though the Stormont government banned them from doing so.
British troops deployed to police the event had a tough job on their hands because of the considerable number of people protesting, estimated at some 15,000.
Inevitably tempers flared, violence erupted, British Paratroopers were ordered to move in and arrest troublemakers. On this fateful day, now known as “Bloody Sunday”, fourteen people were killed from gunshot wounds.
Fast forward to the 10th April 1998, the political and religious sectarian “troubles” were essentially brought to an end with The Belfast Agreement, or as it’s more commonly known – The Good Friday Agreement.
THE SAVILLE INQUIRY
Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered a full inquiry into the events that led to the killing of fourteen people on Bloody Sunday. The inquiry, announced in the same year of The Belfast Agreement, drew to a close in 2010 and had come to some eyebrow-raising conclusions.
It found the casualties of Bloody Sunday did not pose a threat or did anything that would justify their shooting. It said no warnings were given to civilians before British soldiers opened fire, interestingly it also concluded that none of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by stone throwers or petrol bombers.
The Saville inquiry came to these conclusions even though investigators were told that Martin McGuinness, an MP for Sinn Fein, was the IRA gunman who sparked Bloody Sunday.
An informant said that Martin McGuinness “personally fired the shot from a Thompson sub-machine gun from Rossville Flats that precipitated the Bloody Sunday episode.”
You can find that information HERE.
The Saville inquiry started 30 years AFTER Bloody Sunday, by the time it had concluded FORTY TWO YEARS had passed since the tragedy.
UK GOVERNMENT ABANDONS ITS TROOPS
After the Saville inquiry, then Prime Minister David Cameron said that the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable” even though the report also found “some firing by republican paramilitaries”.
Current (although thankfully outgoing) Prime Minister Teresa May blocked ministers of parliament from putting forward legislation that could protect British Army Veterans from prosecution for any alleged offence during the Northern Ireland Troubles.
You can find that HERE.
Jeremy Hunt, currently a finalist for the position of Prime Minister said that Northern Ireland veterans and IRA fighters should be “treated the same way” to protect the hard-won peace the UK and Ireland secured under the Good Friday Agreement.
That means throwing our serving and veteran soldiers under a bus for political expediency.
VETERANS JUSTIFIABLE ANGER
Robin Horsfall, a former member of the SAS, was understandably enraged by the comments made by Jeremy Hunt.
“How can the people of this country expect a leader to equate our troops to people who have gone out and murdered and bombed over 30 years, injuring and wounding over 50,000, murdering over 6,000 members of the security services.
“This person who is running for leadership of the Conservative Party and leadership of this country thinks he is going to be able to send our soldiers to war and then equate them to terrorists and the people they are fighting.
“If you think that this person is going to make a good leader then you have a serious problem. We need a leader who is going to go out there and support our troops.
“If our leaders are going to send our troops to war, they need to know that their back is covered. Jeremy Hunt will not cover the backs of our soldiers – he has made it clear.”
You can read more about that HERE
Robin certainly makes a compelling case, soldiers have to carry out orders, they are put in harm’s way, they have to deal with extreme situations under incredible stress while serving and protecting Britains National Interests.
If politicians hold veterans and serving members of our armed forces to such unreasonable standards WITHOUT the protection of the British State, then perhaps they need to go out and serve in extreme situations? They can do so while experiencing incredible stress, and see if they can do any better?
HOPE FOR VETERANS AND SERVING SOLDIERS
The other finalist for the position of Prime Minister is Boris Johnson, a man who does not share the same sentiments as his colleague and rival Jeremy Hunt.
Boris went on record yesterday calling an end to the unfair treatment of military veterans who were involved in the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Responding to incidents dating back to the troubles of Northern Ireland he said:
“Justice must be served but we should stop any unfair persecutions of people who have served their country loyally when there is no new evidence against them.
“The cases that have been brought before the courts have already been before the courts.”
You can find Boris’s comments HERE
Several Northern Ireland Veterans are currently facing charges, one of whom is “Soldier F” who has been charged with killing two protestors during the troubles of Bloody Sunday.
GET THE MESSAGE OUT
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
LEST WE FORGET