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Soldiers left frustrated in bid for justice over attacks

By Staff Reporter

Former British soldiers say they have "hit a brick wall" in their efforts to seek justice for IRA attacks on them during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland said he has no powers to pursue a complaint against the police service for failing to probe terror attacks on army personnel in the region during the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties.

Veterans were told by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in February it does not have the resources to re-examine all crimes that occurred during the Troubles.

In response, the veterans lodged a complaint with the police watchdog, an independent body that handles grievances about the conduct of PSNI officers.

However, the Police Ombudsman has now advised the ex-soldiers that the complaint is out of his remit as it refers to an operational decision taken by the PSNI.

Furious veterans hit out at the police investigation into the actions of soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry and the prosecution of veteran Dennis Hutchings for the attempted murder of a man who was shot dead by an army patrol in 1974.

"The PSNI and prosecution service appear to have enough resources to pursue veterans in relation to the Saville Inquiry (into Bloody Sunday) and also Dennis Hutchings' case.

"It would appear yet again that we are being treated as second class citizens by the Northern Ireland Government," said former soldier Mike Harmson.

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