Irish Republican News · September 28, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
British Army in flute band bust-up

A controversy has arisen involving a British soldier’s links to unionist paramilitaries and his wife’s accusations of harassment.

The corporal, who has served 20 years in the Royal Irish Regiment, has been ordered to return to his battalion in Scotland.

The Royal Irish Regiment has a violent history in the North of Ireland, where they have been accused of engaging in collusion with paramilitaries -- as recently as last month -- and of directly targeting members of the nationalist community.

The 39-year-old’s wife claimed they were being victimised over bullying allegations, but has now been questioned over alleged threats to kill a senior officer.

She told reporters: “They want us out because I have written to the Queen, Tony Blair, (defence secretary) Geoff Hoon and the head of the British army, General Sir Michael Jackson.

“I have been asking the government what they are going to do about bullying in the army.”

The woman accused British army top-brass of trying to force her out for standing up to them.

She said: “It’s another tactic to get rid of us. I didn’t threaten to kill anyone.

“They have closed ranks because I have stood up against officers.

“I’m so frightened to be in camp now in case I get accused of something else.”

The soldier and his teenage son both joined a flute band in Lisburn, County Antrim, earlier this year. UDA paramilitaries are understood to be among the band’s members.

“My husband went to school with these blokes the army say are UDA,” said his wife, whose identity has not been published.

“If that’s the case they would always have known he was a soldier. Why have they decided all of a sudden to do this?

“Why should I leave Northern Ireland? I have done nothing wrong, and none of us have carried out any security breach.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News