[Sinn Fein]

8 July 1998

British government to review case of convicted British soldiers

Families not informed

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly today slammed the treatment of the McBride family by the British Government and its failure to honour its own legislation.

Mr. Kelly said:

``The British government made a number of promises in relation to the victims and those relatives left bereaved as a result of the conflict. They initiated the `Bloomfield Report' and subsequently appointed the current Minister responsible for its armed forces in our country, Adams Ingram, as a `Victims Commissioner'.

``All of this process was aimed at dealing with those injured and left bereaved with the utmost sensitivity. Mo Mowlam promised those victim families that they would be consulted and informed firstly as to the release of any prisoners responsible for their injuries or bereavement. This was further demonstrated by the legislation added to the `Prisoners Bill'.

``Relatives of those left bereaved by the actions of the British Army and the RUC were sceptical of the ability of this process to deal with their feelings. Particularly as the McBride case is the only one in over 400 killings by the state to secure convictions which are still upheld.

``This view would seem to be have been justified. The McBride family learned of the latest developments to review the case of two British soldiers, imprisoned for the murder of their teenage son and brother, on the television.

``The treatment of the McBride family is totally reprehensible. Where now does this leave the commitment and the legislation to deal with the feelings and sensitivities of families ?

``Is this to be applied to all victims with the exception of the McBride family ?

``Mo Mowlam must now explain her failure to adhere to the legislation to the McBride family.''

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