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It's betrayal, says ex-Para facing trial over death of IRA man

By Sally Wardle

A former soldier who faces prosecution for allegedly murdering an Official IRA commander has said he is being treated "like a terrorist".

The 67-year-old man, known only as Soldier A, told The Sun he felt "betrayed" after being told he would be prosecuted over the death of Joe McCann.

McCann, who was one of the Official IRA's most prominent activists in the early days of the Troubles, was shot dead in disputed circumstances in Belfast in April 1972 aged 24.

The veteran of civil rights protests was killed by an Army patrol in Joy Street in the Markets area of Belfast city centre.

A third member of the unit that fired at Mr McCann died in the intervening years, the Public Prosecution Service said.

Soldier A is to be prosecuted for the alleged murder along with a 65-year-old man known as Soldier C.

Both are surviving members of the Parachute Regiment patrol that fired on Mr McCann, prosecutors said.

Soldier A told The Sun: "I'm being treated like a terrorist. It's disgusting and the Government's doing nothing about this political witch-hunt. I feel betrayed.

"To be told you will be charged with murder 44 years after the incident is a shock to the system.

"Until last week I was looking forward to retiring and taking a few holidays abroad. But life's on hold now.

"A letter at the time said no action would be taken. Now I've been treated with contempt by the Northern Ireland prosecution system."

The two accused are likely to appear in court next year.

Last week, a spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service said: "Following a careful consideration of all the available evidence it has been decided to prosecute two men for the offence of murder.

"The decision was reached following an objective and impartial application of the test for prosecution that was conducted in accordance with the code for prosecutors and with the benefit of advice from senior counsel."

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