Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Sack soldier for Bloody Sunday slurs, urges brother of victim

A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday

There have been calls for a Royal Irish Ranger to be discharged from the Army and charged with inciting hatred after he posted offensive comments about Bloody Sunday on the internet.

The soldier from Belfast put a banner on his Facebook page featuring the Parachute Regiment logo with sectarian slogans about the killings.

It was removed from the site yesterday.

Bloody Sunday relative John Kelly has reported the matter to the PSNI.

His teenage brother Michael was killed by members of the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday,

It’s the second complaint Mr Kelly has lodged with the police recently about soldiers’ postings on the internet.

A spokesman for the Army said: “All those who are found to fall short of the Army’s high standards or who are found to have committed an offence are dealt with administratively, up to and including discharge, or through the discipline process, as appropriate.

“I can assure you that views expressed by this individual are categorically not those of the Army nor the Ministry of Defence.”

Mr Kelly called for the soldier to be investigated by the PSNI as well, before revealing this is now the second time in a few weeks he has had to lodge such a complaint with the police.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, Mr Kelly said: “It is just sickening that despite our family members being totally exonerated and declared innocent by the British Government, including the Prime Minister, there appears to be a mindset amongst soldiers that thinks it is acceptable to attack us.

“This latest incident involving a serving member of the RIR who clearly supports the murder of innocent people is frightening given that he is a trained soldier serving somewhere, walking streets with a gun, presumably.

“It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident, but this is now two complaints I have made to the PSNI in relation to comments on a website connected to the British Army.

“I was made aware of very crude, sectarian and vile comments made about me personally, calling for my oxygen to be cut off on a website, Army Rumour Service.”

Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood backed calls for the soldier behind the Facebook slurs to be discharged from the Army.

He said: “To trample on the memory of those who were shot dead while trying to protect civil rights for all and to do so in such an offensive and craven manner is, frankly, abhorrent, and makes me sick to my stomach.

“This cannot even be called thoughtlessness, as posting anything on your Facebook page requires a conscious decision.

“The families of Bloody Sunday at the very least deserve a full and unequivocal apology from him and I hope that will be forthcoming immediately.

“However, if the MoD want to prove that they agree with David Cameron’s assessment of the forces’ actions on Bloody Sunday, they should dismiss this man from the Army without delay.”

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