Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday prosecutions 'nothing to do with justice' says Belfast Army Colonel

Retired Army veteran Tim Collins
Retired Army veteran Tim Collins

Retired British Army Colonel Tim Collins has said the prosecution of a former paratrooper over his actions on Bloody Sunday has "nothing to do with justice".

Colonel Collins grew up in Belfast and served in the British Army from 1981 to 2004. He did four tours in Northern Ireland and also served in Kosovo and both Gulf Wars.

He came to prominence after an eve-of-battle speech he gave before the Iraq war in 2003.

On Thursday it was announced that one paratrooper, 'soldier F' will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell in Londonderry on January 30 1972.

Writing in the Daily Mail Col Collins said that the Bloody Sunday prosecutions had "nothing to do with justice".

He wrote that the Republican movement wanted to rewrite its own role in the Troubles.

Collins pointed to the atrocities carried out by the IRA, with 27 murders attributed to the group in the Derry area in 1972.

"While genuine terrorists walk free, those who served their country and sought to defend the public find themselves in court," he wrote.

Col Collins said that he grew up in Belfast "at the peak of the Troubles".

He called on the British Government to "go after the real perpetrators of terrorist incidents, many of whom are known to the authorities".

He wrote that the history of the Troubles had been rewritten to put the blame on the British Government, calling it a "travesty of history".

"Responsibility for the overwhelming majority of violence in the Troubles lies with the Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries," Col Collins wrote.

"According to the most authoritative estimates, less than 0.5 per cent of the questionable killings in Ulster during this period were perpetrated by police officers or soldiers.

"In contrast, British troops were discharging their duty to uphold order and defend the public, often in the toughest circumstances."

Col Collins said that Secretary of State Karen Bradley had been "in essence, right", when she controversially said that the killings by security forces were "not crimes".

He wrote that he did not believe the Bloody Sunday prosecutions would have any effect on British Army recruitment.

Tim Collins giving the rousing eve of battle speech to his men before they entered Iraq, which made him a national hero
Tim Collins giving the rousing eve of battle speech to his men before they entered Iraq, which made him a national hero

"Our armed forces remain one of the finest fighting units in the world, with a sense of duty and discipline that is far greater than all the shenanigans of the politicians," Col Collins said.

"British and Irish recruits will continue to join up, going on to serve heroically. What will undoubtedly be lost is the soldiers’ sense of trust in politicians and their bureaucratic leadership.

"They will be infused with the wariness that at any time they could be thrown to the judicial wolves simply for carrying out their orders."

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