The Six-County Attorney General has been asked to order new inquests into the deaths of people killed by an undercover British army unit following new information uncovered by a BBC documentary.
For the first time some of the British Army’s infamous Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF) have broken their silence, and have spoken about how they “took the war to the IRA, sometimes even imitating the IRA itself”.
The ‘elite’ unit was set up in 1971 but disbanded after 14 months amid international anger over the soldiers’ deadly campaign in which a number of innocent civilians were killed.
Among those shot dead by the unit in the 14 months before it was disbanded were west Belfast man Patrick McVeigh, pictured above, a shipbuilder targeted as he stood among a group of residents in May 1972. Eyewitnesses, including a priest who gave the Last Rites to Mr McVeigh, refuted British claims that there had been a ‘gun battle’ with the IRA. The soldiers did not appear at the inquest and it recorded an open verdict.
Pat McVeigh said it wasn’t until six weeks after her father’s death that the family were told it had been carried out by plain-clothes soldiers.
“I want my father’s name cleared and for those responsible to be called to give evidence at a new inquest and tell the truth about what happened,” she said. “History should show my father was an innocent victim.”
A second victim to feature in the Panorama investigation is Daniel Rooney, who was just 19 when he was shot as he stood talking to a friend at the corner of St James Crescent in west Belfast in September 1972.
The six soldiers involved also did not attend the original inquest.
Padraig O Muirigh, a lawyer who represents both families, said: “In light of the new evidence gathered by John Ware we will be contacting the Attorney General calling for fresh inquests and also launching civil action against the Ministry of Defence”.
‘Britain’s Secret Terror Force’ will be shown on BBC One next Thursday at 9pm.