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4 September 2003 Edition

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McBride sister to stand in London by-election

The sister of murdered New Lodge teenager Peter McBride will stand as a candidate in a British by-election in the Brent East constituency of London.

Kelly McBride said she has no expectation of winning, but believes she can highlight the family's campaign to have the two British soldiers convicted of killing her 18-year-old brother ejected from the British Army.

"The decision to stand in this by-election is designed to bring the family's demands to have James Fisher and Mark Wright dismissed from the Army brought to the heart of political debate in Britain," said McBride. "The decision to keep the two convicted murderers in the British Army was made in London, so we decided to go to London to highlight Peter's plight for justice."

Supporters of the McBrides hope to open an office in the London constituency for the duration of the election campaign. Also, under election legislation Kelly McBride will be entitled to the same time and media coverage as Labour candidate Robert Evans and Conservative Uma Fernandes.

McBride put the question: if a major can be expelled from the British Army for cheating on a game show, why then should convicted killers be kept in the army and even promoted?

"I will be asking the people of Brent East to vote for me so that the British government is given the message that the taking of a human life is more serious than cheating in a game show. I will be asking voters to show that my brother was not murdered in their name."

The family have said they will challenge British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the decision to allow Peter McBride's killers to remain in the Army. Blair is expected to visit the constituency in the run up to the 18 September polling day.

Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams MP has called on the Irish community in the Brent East constituency, and those others who are interested in human rights matters, to rally round and give their support and help to Kelly McBride.

"Sinn Féin supports this initiative," said the party president. "It provides the McBride family with an opportunity to raise their demand that the two Scots Guards convicted of murdering Peter McBride should be removed from the British Army."

NIO minister John Spellar, who took part in the decision to allow Fisher and Wright to remain in the army, has already visited the constituency in the past two weeks to support the Labour candidate.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of Belfast City Council on Tuesday night, 2 September, a motion condemning the announcement by Belfast Mayor Martin Morgan of the SDLP that he would boycott meetings with British minister John Spellar was passed.

The motion, brought by DUP councillor Sammy Wilson and backed by unionists and Alliance party members, was passed by 24 votes to 16, with Sinn Féin voting against the motion and in support of Morgan.

Despite the setback, Morgan said he would continue his boycott as it is a matter of conscience, but the decision not to meet Spellar would be kept under constant review.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey said, "the kernel of it all is John Spellar sat on the board which allowed two convicted killers to remain as soldiers.

"John Spellar made the decision to allow Mark Wright and James Fisher to remain in the British Army and the fact that both men were actually promoted is an injustice to the McBride family and to the memory of Peter McBride".

Peter McBride was shot dead by the two Scots Guardsmen near his New Lodge home on the 4 September 1992.

Public meeting to examine McBride killing

A public meeting to be held in the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Thursday night 4 September, the 11th anniversary of the killing of nationalist teenager Peter McBride.

Chaired by Clara Reilly of Relatives for Justice a panel discussion involving Kelly McBride, Paul Mageean of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre and media commentator Roy Greenslade, will discuss the issues raised by the case.

The meeting begins at 8pm in the Europa Hotel, Belfast and further information can be obtained from the Pat Finucane Centre 028 7126 8846 or [email protected]

Mallon inquest reopens

The inquest for Roseanne Mallon, the County Tyrone pensioner shot dead in 1994 by loyalists despite the fact that her house was under surveillance by the British Army at the time, reopened on Wednesday in Dungannon Court House.

Sinn Féin Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew, who attended the opening, said afterwards that the inquest basically boils down to two issues. "Firstly, the British State colluded with those who carried out this killing and have acted to prevent the truth being established ever since. They engaged in state sponsored assassination of citizens.

"The second major issue is the continuing failure of the PSNI to cooperate with the inquest into this killing and many others. The PSNI are actively attempting to subvert this inquest and prevent the truth being established in the same manner that they adopted with the inquest into the killing of Pearse Jordan. They have consistently failed to provide evidence demanded by the coroner. It is clear that the PSNI approach to these inquests mirrors that of the RUC. This approach is driven by a desire to prevent the truth emerging and to frustrate efforts to provide justice for bereaved families.

"The families of those people killed through collusion will not rest until the truth surrounding the murder of their loved ones is established. Sinn Féin will continue to support these families in their fight for truth and justice."

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