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MLA will gain the sympathy of all for his courage in the face of a personal tragedy that transcends political divide

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 09/07/2016

Doug Beattie
Doug Beattie

The former Royal Irish Regiment officer Captain Doug Beattie is a war hero who was awarded the Military Cross, but one of his most painful and searing experiences was the recent death of his little grandson.

In our interview he talks in harrowing detail about his feelings when he saw the 15-month-old child lying dead on the floor of his own home.

Even the dreadful experiences of the battlefield were no preparation for such a loss.

Doug Beattie will be aware of the onus and responsibility to support his heartbroken daughter's family.

In his brave interview, Mr Beattie sets out in unflinching detail the emotional anguish that such a loss inevitably brings.

It is to his credit that although the shocking death of his grandson took place during election week, he would not mention it. The rawness of the loss was too severe, and he did not wish to be accused of using a family tragedy as part of an electioneering process.

He wanted to walk away from politics, and he felt "guilty and ashamed" to be running for election when his family was being "destroyed".

Doug Beattie comes across as an example of the fine tradition of Ulster soldiering, in stark contrast to the military and political bickering that was so expertly laid bare by the publication of the Chilcot Report.

Mr Beattie is his own man, and he makes noteworthy comments about his views on same sex marriage and abortion, and about wishing to join a political party which has given him the freedom to express himself.

His comments about not wishing his military background to alienate him from the nationalist community are also laudable and forward-thinking.

The dreadful events which have engulfed Captain Beattie cross all boundaries, and he will have the sympathy of everyone.

We are fortunate to have a person of such calibre in our political life.

Belfast Telegraph

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