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Prosecutions of British military veterans in Northern Ireland.

  • 16-07-2021 11:14am
    Registered Users Posts: 3,497 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    The killing of John Pat Cunningham was investigated by the RUC, which questioned Hutchings and the other soldiers involved. It was originally decided not to prosecute.

    So how is it that there could have been new evidence on which the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland decided to prosecute him?

    The same question could be asked about the prosecution of ex-soldier David Jonathan Holden, who is accused of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie. Holden was charged with manslaughter in the aftermath of the 1988 killing but it was dropped on the grounds of insufficient evidence. He pleaded guilty to negligent discharge of a firearm.

    If a civilian police force (even if it was the RUC!) investigated and the prosecutor decided not to take the case to court then why has it been decided to prosecute in the past few years? It's not like there is DNA evidence involved!



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,034 ✭✭✭✭ maccored

    first post on the new board and it doubles it!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,497 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    The fact remains that the RUC was a civilian force under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Office and so there was no conflict of interest regarding the investigation of killings carried out by soldiers of the regular armed forces (as opposed to the UDR, whose soldiers didn't live in barracks). Furthermore, nobody could accuse the RUC of being favourable towards the UDR - just ask Neil Latimer!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,960 ✭✭✭✭ Suckit

    Remember the statues that were toppled last year, when it seems people discovered History's sordid past...

    It would be interesting to make those same people aware of things like this.. Would they agree with how things have gone, or would they disagree..

    They apparently have most of the answers after centuries of getting everything wrong.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 362 ✭✭ SupaCat95

    Thought these investigations were all gone with the Good Friday Agreement. I dont see the Paramilitaries (on all sides) offering up any information.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,497 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    If the RUC had a sectarian bias then why did it arrest UDR soldiers?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,497 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    No. Investigations and trials still took place. Anyone convicted of a Troubles-related offence and a member of a paramilitary organisation that has ceased fire is released on licence after two years. Clifford McKeown, who murdered Michael McGoldrick, is still in prison because no group claims him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,546 ✭✭✭ Blaaz_

    because its job?

    How did the gun taken from a uvf member,whom was also the son of an ruc officer at a checkpoint,make its way back to the uvf and end up being used to shoot up sean grahams bookies??

    And why is the only person ever arrested in relation that massacre,a survivor arrested last year for laying flowers?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,497 ✭✭✭ political analyst

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,034 ✭✭✭✭ maccored

    As I say - they werent great when it came to investigating anyone on their side - including the UDA

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,129 ✭✭✭✭ Brendan Bendar

    So we are going to have back and forth for the next year or two discussing stuff that happened 50 years ago.

    hmmm …the lawyers will be delighted, I’m sure.

    And the results:

    Nothing except big wedges for the vested interests.

    who pays…………yes the taxpayer. Probably the largest coterie who had nothing to do with the events.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,734 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152

    They are happier discussing stuff that happened 50 years ago, rather than examining the hypocritical u-turns in more recent times.

    "Yet, Boris Johnson has only delivered what SF incessantly pleaded for from Blair, immunity from prosecution. He even offered it to them publicly in 2006, an offer they only abandoned when the SDLP pointed out it would cover state actors."

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭ Scoundrel

    From a cold hard clinical historical point of view I think it would be best to draw a line under it blanket amnesty for everyone no matter how distasteful and move on but that's easy for me to say having had no loved ones killed or maimed during that time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,546 ✭✭✭ Blaaz_

    I think a massive tribunal is what is required on similar basis/offering to saville tribunal (maybe on a year by year basis,or county by county basis)

    People forget soldier f (and rest of paras) had been offered immunity for partaking in saville,all they had to do was tell the truth....

    quite why the cps only took the extreme low hanging fruit of soldier f and not the others for prosectution is perplexing

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,734 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152

    The problem with that is that not a single person in either government believes that SF and the IRA will tell the truth to such a tribunal. That's why it hasn't happened.

    As a recent Irish Times article said "A disavowal of past violence is an essential part of laying the moral foundations for a united Ireland. Otherwise, how could former Ulster unionists feel remotely secure?" This disavowal is needed from Sinn Fein, and not the mealy-mouthed attempt to suggest that all violence is wrong, ownership of the wrongs that they and their followers have committed is what is needed.

    That is slightly off-topic, but the recent Lucid Talk Poll was interesting.

    "Some 45% of respondents who took part in the Belfast Telegraph-LucidTalk poll said there should be no amnesty and all cases should be pursued under the normal processes of the law.

    Some 29% said there should be a complete amnesty for everyone and society should move on. Another 21% said there should be no amnesty, but there should be a different, more lenient 'legacy policy' for members of the security forces, as opposed to everyone else."

    The last point is particularly interesting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 55,268 ✭✭✭✭ FrancieBrady

    The evidence we have suggests that the IRA are more than willing to take part in a Truth Recovery process.

    I read this document before I decided to vote for SF in a GE.

    I know you probably won't read it as you are part of an establishment that won't allow SF's mandate under any circumstances. But it adamantly calls bullshit on the trope in the first part of your post. The power swap and the British do not want a Truth Recovery process for the same reason the British want an amnesty for their colluders and killers.

    iii) This type of mechanism can be trusted The ICLVR demonstrates that this type of mechanism can be trusted. That the ICLVR has been seen to work by those intended to engage with the ICIR mechanism is important: It’s something practical that you can point to, to the ex-combatant or former security force constituency to say: this thing can work. Because the misgivings for them will be, well why…should we if we’re liable to be prosecuted…you can say: this worked.6 Indeed, one senior Republican ex-combatant interviewed for this research elucidated this: we in the political ex-prisoner community did…a series of meetings and talks with people…about…how they would feel about becoming involved in a process of truth recovery…what we had in mind was some sort of a process whereby people on a collective basis could be requested to give information to a group of very trusted and confidential comrades…And the example that we used was the process of the recovery of the remains. And in the main, most guys would have been comfortable with that.7 The Importance of Leadership Effective leadership from those involved in these processes is extremely important. With regards the ICLVR, leadership has been essential for both the ICLVR and Republicans engaging with the search process. Leadership has been described as: Crucial…once the Republican leadership – both Sinn Féin and the IRA – engaged with this issue properly and created their own structures in order to manage it, that’s when the issue begins to be resolved…It doesn’t work until you have that top-down commitment to making it work. So it’s absolutely central.8

    dempster180418.pdf (

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,734 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152

    You were foolish enough to trust what you called the "power swap" parties for 50 years. I can certainly tell you that I won't be fooled by SF's support for a truth process and given I have voted Labour, PDs, Greens and others for most of the last 40 years, I would trust my own judgement more than yours.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,229 ✭✭✭ mikethecop

    are you saying you believe that the ira and sf are honorable ?

    your really going to stand over that statement ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,229 ✭✭✭ mikethecop

    and thus ends my interest in being involved in a discussion with you mate

    enjoy your fantasy world

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,546 ✭✭✭ Blaaz_


    People are allowed have differing views,tell me how labeling and attempting to frame innocent people as gunmen and bombers to cover up a massacre places the brits as more honourable,in your eyes?

    Tell me how its more honourable for the british to change the law,so as war crimes committed in front of hundreds of witnesses and admitted to by soldier f,can avoid prosectution?

    If you feel the above is fantasy,feel free to rebuke it,with facts and logic

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,229 ✭✭✭ mikethecop

    my post was very clear , if you lac the ability to understand that , well im not surprised but then its on you

    im not even gona start to explain that to you, its below the standard required for a discussion


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,546 ✭✭✭ Blaaz_

    Agh right slink away,when presented with anyone who dare not agree with yous

    Heaven forbid anyone dare critise and point out the conduct of the british around this issue is deeply dishonourable and worst than that of the shinners....theres no justification for it imo,but as you say yourself "its on you"

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,734 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152

    There are plenty who will stand over that statement, notwithstanding the failure of SF and the IRA to deal with the issues of Mairia Cahill, Paul Quinn, the disappeared, etc., not to mention their repeated lies about Gerry McCabe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,546 ✭✭✭ Blaaz_

    Probably would ask for proof of this....but yanno dont want to expose your imagination running wild again🤪🤪🤪

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,034 ✭✭✭✭ maccored

    there are plenty who will vote SF in the next election - thats what really sticks in your graw. you have already shown many times you have very little understanding of what occurred in the north or what the IRA etc were about.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,229 ✭✭✭ mikethecop

    the issue is with your disgusting glorification of child killers and peado protecting criminals mate nothing else , your happy to be that kind of person dont try to drag me into a whos scummier contest for your own gratification