Trident whistleblower discharged
A Royal Navy submariner who published an online dossier of safety and security concerns about the Trident nuclear programme has been discharged from the service.
Able Seaman William McNeilly, 25, went absent without leave last month after producing an 18-page report containing a series of allegations about the Trident submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde.
He handed himself into Royal Navy police after his claims made headlines and he was held at a military establishment in Scotland.
His report alleged 30 safety and security flaws on the Trident submarines, describing them as a ''disaster waiting to happen''.
The Royal Navy said it disagreed with Mr McNeilly's ''subjective and unsubstantiated'' views and said it takes the operation of its submarines and the safety of its personnel extremely seriously.
The 25-year-old from Belfast has put up a new seven-page online post thanking people for their support.
He said he has been given a "dishonourable discharge" and that he refused to sign a document discrediting his allegations which would have led to an earlier release for the service.
Mr McNeilly wrote: "Most people know that I acted in the interest of national security. However, I was still given a dishonourable discharge from the Royal Navy. On the claim that my sole aim was to discredit their public image. The truth is, I view the Royal Navy as the greatest navy in history."
He added: "Some people within the Royal Navy have been maliciously spreading the rumour that most of the information in my report is just hearsay. People should read the report before they judge it."
The claims became a major political issue and were raised in the House of Commons. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the whistleblower's concerns about Trident nuclear submarine safety have not been proved and were either "incorrect or the result of misunderstanding".
Mr McNeilly believes more staff concerns will come to light.
He wrote online: "Other submariners have been anonymously releasing information to journalists. It's only a matter of time before worse information comes out, and everything is proven to be true. Even high ranking senior figures have expressed their concerns."
He added: "I must point out that I'm not suggesting everybody should release every bit of information they can get their hands on. Some people have no understanding of what should and shouldn't be released.
"Don't be like those guys who just put everything on a pen drive and release it all. All of my charges were dropped because I carefully selected information.
"There is a line between increasing security and damaging security. You must never cross that line.
"You should always start by raising your concerns from within the system. If that doesn't work you can file a representation. I raised my concerns within the system first, but the staff never took the complaints seriously. They all thought they were salty sea dogs who knew best."
Mr McNeilly said his time in detention " wasn't that bad" and he "was relaxed because I knew I couldn't do anything".
A Royal Navy Spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that AB McNeilly has left the Naval Service the details of which are a matter for the individual and his employer.
"Throughout the process Able Seaman McNeilly was still being afforded the duty of care that we give all our personnel, as was his family."
SNP Defence spokesman Brendan O'Hara, who represented the Argyll and Bute constituency that is home to the Faslane naval base, said: ''I have always commended Mr McNeilly's bravery for speaking out on these issues.
"We should all be grateful that he was courageous enough to bring these matters to public attention - especially as he had nothing to gain personally and - as we see today - so much to lose.
''The MoD has a culture of secrecy in areas of public concern and it is a disgrace that all too often the only way we get to hear about breaches in security and safety is when a courageous individual speaks out.
"We do not believe that the allegations have been anywhere near fully investigated and the MoD has attempted to sweep this under the carpet with a 420 word statement - which is completely unacceptable.''