Britain's Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, has admitted that one of two soldiers convicted of the murder of Belfast teenager Peter McBride was promoted while an Army Board was still said to be considering the dismissal of the soldiers from the military.
The admission came in a letter to the Pat Finucane Centre, a Derry based human rights organisation. The latter came on the day of the Brent East by-election in London involving Peter's sister Kelly, who stood in the by-election in an attempt to raise awareness about her brother's murder.
A PFC spokesperson has described the news as ``clear evidence that the [Ministry of Defence] subverted a court ruling and improperly influenced the Army Board.''
The final meeting of the Army Board was held in November 2000, several weeks after the promotion.
The spokesperson added that it was also clear that John Spellar -- then Armed Forces Minister, and now responsible for human rights in the North of Ireland -- had withheld the fact of this promotion and the timing from the legal team representing Peter McBride's mother, Jean.
Jean Mc Bride, mother of Peter, commented on the revelation saying, ``John Spellar was the Armed Forces Minister when an employee convicted of murder was promoted and while a court ordered tribunal which he sat on was reconsidering the decision to even employ that person.
``Where are the demands for an inquiry and resignations?
``Instead Spellar is appointed Minister for Human Rights. This totally vindicates the position taken by the Mayor of Belfast Martin Morgan who is boycotting Spellar's office.''
Mr Durkan said that his party had only been notified on Sunday night that the meeting with Mr Ingram, due to take place at Castle Buildings yesterday morning, had been cancelled without reason.