British prosecutors in the north of Ireland have taken the decision to not prosecute two soldiers who were found to have killed innocent people during the Troubles. Tory MPs have attempted to justify the outcome as some form of reconciliation of the Troubles; however for those who have lost friends, family and loved ones reconciliation is a far away thought when state sanctioned killers still walk the streets.
On 30 January 1972, in the Bogside area of Derry, British forces opened fire on unarmed and peaceful civil rights protesters. Fourteen people died and more than 15 were injured. The Saville report found that it was “probable” that soldiers were firing from the hip at protesters. One of the soldiers involved with the slaughter has been made known to the public as “Soldier F”. The soldier in question is now one of those who prosecutors have said will not be facing justice despite his actions
Daniel Hegarty was an unarmed 15 year old boy when he was gunned down in the street by Soldier B. Similar to the Bloody Sunday case, the murderer has escaped justice completely.
This decision came shortly after it was found that the ten people killed in the Ballymurphy massacre were innocent but no perpetrators will be prosecuted. Time and time again when inquiries, enquiries and investigations are carried out into the crimes committed by the British Army there has been no justice. This can only be seen as a multi-level failure from multiple organisations: a failure of the British government to pursue any form of justice; a failure of the British Army to be able to hold their own troops to account; and a failure of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to put any pressure at all on successive British governments to do something about it.
Soldiers, who fought for imperialism being told that their actions were okay, sets a nasty precedent for cases to come and even if they do commit these crimes then their identity will be completely hidden. On the other hand, today Irish republican activists are frequently harassed by crown forces with republicans’ homes and properties being bugged and being offered sums of money in exchange for information.
When British soldiers are slaughtering children, the question has to be asked of the government and the prosecution services, where does accountability start? British troops have repeatedly been found to be committing heinous acts across the world and very rarely are they ever held to account.