8 February 2024
I note the announcement made today by the Public Prosecution Service to bring charges against former soldiers relating to incidents that happened during the Troubles in 1972. It would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage given that these are live legal cases.
However, I would say this, as the Northern Ireland Veterans Commissioner, it is my responsibility to speak on behalf of the veterans who served during Operation Banner. In doing so, it is important to remind society that more than 1,000 members of the security forces lost their lives during this period in providing a safer Northern Ireland, not forgetting the many that were injured and still live with life changing injuries to this day. The vast majority of those who served during the Troubles did so with dignity and professionalism in order to help prevent civil war.
One of the most painful issues for Operation Banner veterans’ is the demonisation that is peddled by some sections of our community in Northern Ireland. The facts remain that 90% of deaths caused during the Troubles,
Since my appointment as Veterans Commissioner, there have been three legacy trials in Northern Ireland, all involving veterans, with no cases being brought against republican or loyalist terrorists – in the eyes of veterans and others, they see this as an imbalance in the current legal system and are discontented with what they see as a wider rewriting of history.
Veterans respect the rule of law and were carrying out their uniformed duty under the most stressful of circumstances. Veterans do not equate their service to ever be considered equivalent to those who carried out acts of premeditated murder and terror – there is no moral equivalence between those who served in our security forces and members of terrorist organisations.
NI Veterans Commissioner – Danny Kinahan