Army killing of IRA man 'unjustified'

Published Tuesday, 29 January 2013
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A report by the Historical Enquiries Team has found that the killing of official IRA leader Joe McCann was unjustified.

Army killing of IRA man 'unjustified'
The family spoke to the press on Tuesday. (© UTV)

The prominent republican was shot dead by members of the Parachute Regiment in the Markets area of Belfast in 1972.

The HET has also revealed the 24-year-old was unarmed when he was shot but he was regarded by the security forces as a dangerous terrorist.

Their report said: "The HET considers that Joe's actions did not amount to the level of specific threat which could have justified the soldiers opening fire in accordance with the Army Rules of Engagement or their standard operating procedures."

The family has welcomed the findings but said many questions still remain unanswered.

Mr McCann's daughter Nuala said: "The shooting of our father was not justified. It was unjustified."

Soldiers from the Parachute Regiment shot Mr McCann several times as he ran away in Joy Street, a mainly nationalist housing area near Belfast's city centre.

The incident happened just weeks after Bloody Sunday.

Mr McCann's wife Anne welcomed the findings.

"It's very hard to relive ... it's still very painful," she told UTV.

"The thing about a sudden death is that it never goes away. But we always knew that what happened to Joe wasn't right."

© UTV News
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34 Comments
Eamo in Belfast wrote (545 days ago):
Oldsod i was talking about detention not parole as you will know that not only for the paramilataries on both sides the british army kept on killing in cold blood ie springhill and derry come to mind. So as far as your convention goes neither side opted to use this and while your at it when i mean neither side i mean on one killing side was british army and loyalists and on the other the republicans. There should have never been 40 years of war but then there should never have been 90 years of misrule. All taking of life is wrong and all mistreatment of your minority groups is Also wrong.
OldSod in Fermanagh wrote (545 days ago):
Eamo in Belfast: Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949- There are options available such as handing prisoners over to a neutral body or power, even getting prisoners to sign parole agreements (there is plenty of precedent for this going back to the middle ages). Parole agreements (like exiling) was in effect done for criminal like drug dealers etc,... why not "combatants" if unable to humanely detain them? Sadly "parole agreements" do very little for spreading terror, fear and asserting power or control, which was what it was all really about for all the paramilitaries.
Eamo in Belfast wrote (545 days ago):
Tommy the IRA did not have a place loke long kesh to hold anyone in. And if you can remember the people in the know are helping to recover the bodies of the disapeared. And only rightly so. They should never have been killed in the first place. The british government are not helping in any way as the files needed still stay shut. All the people responsible for these crimes must pay. That goes as far as PM in the governments if this collusion shows it.
OldSod in Fermanagh wrote (545 days ago):
Realist,.. I agree with your remarks about how to deal with the past,.. but I really feel I should put some distance between my views and yours when it comes to the definition of non-combatants and the bona fide's of SF's apology. Firstly, your average police officer was out trying to uphold the law, not kill IRA volunteers as in a combat situation,... if they were then the death totals would have been astronomical. The police in the vast majority of times behaved as police, as opposed to "combatants",.. just look at the amount of SF/IRA (and other paramilitaries) who were imprisoned rather than shot arbitrarily. Many officers were murdered off duty, some with their families watching,.. others unarmed, one I recall in the hospital car park after visiting his newborn child and wife. What is the difference between a Garda officer being murdered during PIRA criminality and an RUC (or today PSNI) officer being murdered during a similar action? Not many prisoners were taken by the paramilitaries, those that were would have wished they were killed outright before their torture followed by execution. Even by the rules of warfare these are war crimes. It might be necessary to draw a line under the past,... but we can't go rewriting history to try equate the likes of your normal law abiding police officer (or any other law abiding victim) with the paramilitary terrorists. People from both sides did terrible things, but not all of them did these things,... some kept their moral compass despite all that was happening around them, we can't have a situation where we are retrospectively legitimising horrific crimes like bombings and murders (extrajudicial or otherwise), no matter who the targets were.
william in coleraine wrote (546 days ago):
unrealist, nonsense. a terrorist campaign was raged by the IRA and co, the ira were and are not the LAW, they commited many heinous murders such as la mon, enniskillen which to an end should be investigated to not investigate them is a disgrace to this so called democracy,and for the terrorists to have these investigations is an insult to their victim, no republicans are realists,
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