Northern Ireland news

PSNI accused of failing to quix ex-MRF soldier about shooting

Patricia McVeigh with a picture of her father Patrick McVeigh who was shot by the army in May 1972.
Connla Young

The daughter of a Catholic man killed by an undercover British army unit has claimed that the PSNI has failed to interview a former soldier who may have information.

Patricia McVeigh believes her father Patrick McVeigh (44) was shot dead by members of the British army’s Military Reaction Force (MRF) in May 1972.

Disbanded in 1973, the MRF was a shadowy British army group linked to the murder of Catholic civilians.

Mr McVeigh (44) was killed at the junction of Riverdale Park South and Finaghy Road North in Belfast after he stopped to chat to unarmed members of the Catholic Ex Servicemen’s Association who were manning a civilian checkpoint in the area.

Research charity Paper Trail has published British army logs which appear to link the MRF to several shootings in Belfast in the early 1970s.

The new papers have been given to Operation Kenova head Jon Boutcher, who is running a separate investigation into the killing of Jean Smyth-Campbell, last month.

She was shot dead as she sat in the passenger seat of a car on the Glen Road in west Belfast in June 1972.

The MRF is suspected by some of involvement.

Last week the PSNI said that seven people have been interviewed by police investigating the activities of the controversial British army unit.

Police confirmed that a file linked to the case was also forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service earlier this month.

In 2013 the BBC broadcast claims made by a former member who said the unit had been involved in killing unarmed people.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory later asked ex Chief Constable Matt Baggott to investigate the claims.

Mr McVeigh’s daughter Patricia last night said that police have told her they have yet to interview a former MRF member who lives in Australia.

“I was told that they have not been able to question (the former soldier) as yet because he took ill,” she said.

“Obviously we are very disappointed that it has taken so long to see him – I had hoped they would have seen him.

Ms McVeigh said “it’s a great pity they did not get the interview done while he was fit”.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: “A file was forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service on Friday 7 February as part of the police investigation into the alleged activities of the Military Reaction Force. As a result it would not be appropriate for the PSNI to comment further on any specific details.”

 

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