Northern Ireland Veterans March for Justice in London: End ‘witch-hunt’ against soldiers

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Northern Ireland Veterans March for Justice in streets of London

Republican Terrorists freely walk the streets of the United Kingdom. Yet at the same time, the Government has shamefully launched a “witch hunt” against  Northern Ireland’s heroic war veterans.

Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast  Agreement, (agreed to by Tony Blair) 500 convicted terrorists linked to the IRA; including mass killers and bombers, many responsible for some of the worst atrocities during 30 years of violence in the province walked free as part of the Prisoner Release Scheme. This is something seen then and now as “a grave injustice” by ex-forces personnel who now watch on as their own colleagues face possible prosecution. Veterans claim that the vast majority of post-conflict charges relating to Northern Ireland are being made as part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” against British soldiers and not those former IRA members who already have terrorism offences to their name.

On Saturday, 1,000 British Army veterans took part in a demonstration in London organised by the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans Group. They gathered to protest against the launch of criminal investigations into historical alleged crimes committed by soldiers on the front-line. 

In an emotional speech delivered in front of Parliament, Alan Barry, the organiser of the event said: 

“These actions by the British Government are a betrayal of all that we hold dear.

“No British soldier ever went on patrol with the intention of committing a crime, no British soldier ever placed a bomb in a pub full of innocents and no British soldier ever placed a bomb underneath a police vehicle.

“Prime Minister, please do not allow this appalling situation to continue.”

Retired Veteran, Dennis Hutchings who has been charged with attempted murder over a shooting in 1974, also spoke to those gathered and said:

“There are a few MPs who have had the guts to highlight the gross abuse and witch hunts of servicemen and women of this country,”

“However, the majority of MPs in this and previous governments – and I include those in the Ministry of Defence who have spent millions on inquiries in Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan – have done absolutely bloody nothing for us.”

After the peaceful demonstration, a petition was submitted to Downing Street demanding that the British Government and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland stop criminal proceedings against military men and women for actions undertaken during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The letter specifically pleads with Prime Minister May to introduce a statute of limitations to curtail the prosecutions. 

“We need a Churchill, not a Chamberlain,”  concluded the letter.