Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Don't prosecute Paras: Ex-SAS author McNab backs Bloody Sunday soldiers

A young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
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Former SAS trooper turned best-selling author Andy McNab says he doesn't believe the soldiers who fired the fatal shots on Bloody Sunday should be prosecuted.

McNab's comments are bound to infuriate many of the relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday who have been campaigning for the soldiers involved to face criminal proceedings.

He also makes no apologies for his actions during what he calls the war here, but still remains undercover despite writing almost 30 books over the past 20 years.

McNab (53) made his comments as he returned to Northern Ireland to promote his latest release and after it was revealed earlier this month that soldiers involved in the killings could face criminal charges.

The development comes three years after a £200m inquiry by Lord Saville into the shootings produced its report based on 12 years of investigation.

Its findings concluded that all those shot by paratroopers during the march in the Bogside area of Londonderry were unarmed, rendering their deaths "unjustified and unjustifiable".

McNab did several tours of Northern Ireland in the 1970s as an ordinary Royal Green Jackets soldier before joining special forces and being involved in operations where IRA men, and one SAS trooper, died.

His publicists say he remains a target for republicans, but he himself plays down the risk.

He said he has been back before on several occasions to attend functions with various military units he has been associated with.

Despite Bloody Sunday happening before his time here, he says it would be wrong to prosecute soldiers who were involved in the killings.

"We are not talking about soldiers who'd been going round bayoneting people," he says.

"These were men who were in a state of confusion in a fluid situation and they'd been given the right to open fire if they thought they were in danger. You can't question that decades afterwards."

McNab adds: "Every time there are questions about tactical decisions that were made on the ground anywhere in the world it puts security forces lives at risk because you have commanders who think twice about making decisions because they don't know the consequences further down the line.

"If there are prosecutions, there will be legal implications for modern soldiers and there will be more hesitation. It's nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of Bloody Sunday but how it affects soldiers now."

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