Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley defends remarks about shot IRA man Colum Marks

By Cate McCurry

DUP MP Ian Paisley has vowed he will not withdraw comments calling for police officers involved in the killing of an IRA man to be given medals.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Paisley said the RUC officer who "despatched" Colum Marks, who was shot dead 26 years ago in Downpatrick, should not be investigated but rewarded for "removing a highly dangerous terrorist" from the streets.

His remarks were branded "disgusting" by Sinn Fein's Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady, who said: "Not only do such crass and disgusting comments add to the hurt of the Marks family, they are also an insult to all those who knew Colum and hold him in high regard. No one can be above or beyond the law, whether he is a friend of Ian Paisley's or not."

However, standing by his comments, North Antrim MP Mr Paisley said: "I don't think anyone in their right mind could hold a person of the calibre of Marks in high regard.

"It's a huge insult to people who suffered under the terrorism and gangsterism of Marks in Newry and Downpatrick. Would he (Brady) really go to the widows and orphaned children of the seven soldiers killed in an IRA bomb and tell them that he holds their killer in high regard?

"The shooting of Marks was lawful and it was carried out under all of the proper procedures that are in place for the police and Army."

Lawyers for the Marks family confirmed in June 2016 that the Police Ombudsman was launching a fresh investigation into the 1991 killing after a new eyewitness account emerged.

Police claimed at the time of the shooting that Marks was armed and refused to stop when an attempt was made to arrest him. His family disputes this.

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