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25 February 1999 Edition

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Mothers dismay at Scots guards transfer

by Dan O'Neill.
Two British soldiers convicted of murdering North Belfast father of two Peter McBride in 1992 have been transferred to the Irish Guards and sent to Germany on standby for service in Kosovo as part of a NATO `peace-keeping' force.

The mother of the murdered teenager, Jean McBride has condemned the news of the transfer, coming just days after the McBride family won the right to take the British Army to court and challenge the continued employment of the two convicted murderers. Jean McBride said, ``they are out on licence and are convicted killers, and yet they are being given guns. It's a disgrace. They murdered my son and one of the reasons they gave was the whole stress and strain of having to walk the streets of Belfast. Now they are sending them to a war-torn country. The last thing the people of Kosovo need is two convicted murderers going out there.''

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, has also reacted angrily to the news that the two Scots Guards, Mark Wright and James Fisher, have been given back their weapons.

Kelly said: ``The Ministry of Defence is adding insult to injury with the latest announcement. Convicted murderers Wright and Fisher have not only been readmitted to the army, but now they are to be rearmed and sent on `peacekeeping' service in Kosovo. What kind of peace can these men keep, men who knowingly murdered a teenager in North Belfast six years ago?''

Kelly has called on the pair to be removed from the army, saying, ``the decision to transfer the two men is contemptible and shows the highest disregard for the feelings of Peter McBride's mother, Jean. It also shows the low esteem in which the lives of Irish people are held in the eyes of the Ministry of Defence. Wright and Fisher should be immediately removed from the army.''
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