Belfast Telegraph

Former Tanaiste McDowell 'deeply uncomfortable' with Soldier F prosecution

Former justice minister Michael McDowell
Former justice minister Michael McDowell

A former senior Dublin government minister has said he is "deeply uncomfortable" with the prosecution of Soldier F over events on Bloody Sunday 47 years ago.

He also suggested it was time to draw a line under the past in Northern Ireland.

Soldier F is due to go on trial next year for the murder of William McKinney, 27, and 22-year-old James Wray, and the attempted murder of four other men – Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

Michael McDowell, who was Tanaiste and also a former minister for justice, spoke out against the prosecution,

He said there are people “standing in our halls of power and standing for office who perhaps did equal and far worse things than that paratrooper did on the orders or encouragement of superiors,” The Irish Times reported.

He said those people were presenting themselves "as champions of retrospective justice when they themselves are unwilling to make full confessions of what they themselves have done."

Mr McDowell was addressing serving and retired Defence Forces Officers to mark the 25 years since the establishment of the Association of Retired and Commissioned Officers.

He said before Fianna Fail entered government in 1932, all sensitive documentation in Irish State archives relating to the Civil War were burned by order of the acting defence minister.

"There are perhaps occasions where it is better to draw a line under history," he said. "Now in Northern Ireland there is a very, very strong case drawing the line under past history."

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