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27 February 2003 Edition

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Mother slams Ministry of Defence

Jean McBride, the mother of murdered Belfast teenager Peter McBride, has slammed the British Ministry of Defence after it was confirmed that the Irish Guards, based at Oxford Barracks in Muenster, Germany, are to be sent to the Gulf.

McBride said that a BBC report last Thursday night confirmed that the Irish Guards were being prepared for the Gulf.

"Mark Wright and James Fisher, the two soldiers who murdered my son, are based with the Irish Guards at the Oxford Barracks in Muenster in Germany," she said. So Tony Blair is sending convicted murderers off to fight a war? The Ministry of Defence justified retention of these men by promising that there "was no danger of repetition" since the two would not be based here again.

'God help the young people of Bagdad or Basra if soldiers with a track record of shooting unarmed teenagers in the back are being sent out. There is every danger of repetition if these two are put back on the street with guns and a license to kill. If the New Lodge was too much for them, the mind boggles at how they will react in Iraq. How many civilians will they shoot in the back because the 'security situation is tense' or because they have been warned about the danger of Iraqi coffee jar bombs? I am seeking urgent legal advice to find out if we can take action against the MoD on this."

The Court of Appeal in Belfast has reserved judgement following the latest attempt by solicitors acting on behalf of the McBride family to overturn the Army Board decision to retain Wright and Fisher. A decision is expected before Easter.

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