COMMENT: Our veterans have every right to be disgusted
The 1970s and 1980s were two decades routinely scarred by IRA bombings. A barrage of deadly attacks during what has become known as The Northern Ireland Troubles will never be forgotten by those who can remember them.
The Birmingham and Guildford pub bombings, similar attacks on the military at Hyde Park and Deal, countless car bombs, and above all the attempt to murder Margaret Thatcher and her Tory government at Brighton in 1984. In all, over 1,000 British soldiers killed during the conflict, plus countless innocent civilians.
There are many people who will remember all those attacks, and therefore will no doubt fully understand the anger currently being felt by our nation’s armed forces community. They are outraged at the treatment of Soldier F, the British veteran charged with the murder of a teenager during a 1972 incident in Northern Ireland.
Now Chris Parker, chairman of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Association which represents hundreds of soldiers across the Portsmouth area, is writing to the veterans minister to express his disgust.
Lt Col Parker said: ‘Veterans are becoming exasperated and feel totally let down and angry.
‘Are we now a nation that decides its veterans can be abused in their old age whilst terrorists retire with money and immunity?’ A decent question to ask, we think.
Elsewhere, up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during Bloody Sunday – 47 years on.
At the same time, it emerged last week that more than 180 alleged IRA members on the run were granted ‘get out of jail free’ cards as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.
How can that be fair? No wonder Lt Col Parker is disgusted, and every sensible member of the general public should be disgusted too.
Friday Agreement of 1998.
More than 1,000 British soldiers were killed during the conflict.