[Sinn Fein]

11 March 1999

British Establishment responsible for Clegg Acquittal

Sinn Fein's candidate for European Election in Dublin, Seán Crowe has described the acquittal of British soldier Lee Clegg as ``a slap in the teeth for the Peace Process''. Crowe who represented the party in the multi party negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement , blamed the British establishment for the acquittal. ``They encouraged and cajoled for the release of Clegg , who was convicted for the murder of Belfast teenager Karen O Reilly `` he said.

Mr Crowe continued:

``The British Establishment are responsible for this acquittal. The establishment encouraged and cajoled for his early release. They fully supported and gave political cover to the British Army to enable Clegg , to rejoin his regiment.

( Clegg was promoted and given the job of training new recruits to the British Army )

``Today's announcement will come as no surprise to Irish nationalists long used to the British justice system. No member of the British Army has ever had to serve a lengthy sentence despite carrying out the most appalling crimes. Clegg's establishment friends were an amalgamation of the most reactionary anti Irish elements. They built up a political campaign in the Tory and tabloid press which resulted in today's acquittal.

``Today's acquittal proves that nationalists can be killed with impunity.''

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