30 May 2002 Edition

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McBrides meet with Reid

The family of Peter McBride, the Belfast teenager shot dead by Scots Guardsmen Fisher and Wright in 1992, have given a cautious welcome to the promise made by Secretary of State John Reid to ask Tony Blair for a meeting.

During a lengthy meeting in Belfast on Tuesday, described by Peter's mother Jean McBride as "very candid and at times very heated", the Secretary of State promised to petition the British Prime Minister for a meeting with the McBride family at the nearest opportunity.

Jean McBride welcomed this as a step in the right direction, adding: "I and my family have always been of the view that the decision about the future position in the army of the two men convicted of the murder of my son should properly be made by the government, and not the Ministry of Defence or the British Army." But Mrs McBride warned: "I made it clear to the Secretary of state that I'm not going to give up until I get justice for Peter."

Questioned about his refusal in his then capacity as Armed Forces Minister to meet the McBride family after he had met with campaigners for the Guardsmen in 1998, Reid failed to give the family a satisfactory answer. However, the Secretary of State struck a conciliatory note during an unplanned press briefing after the meeting when he acknowledged "the family's terrible sense of injustice".

Welcoming this new sentiment, Jean McBride said: "After this meeting we are still a family with lots of questions that need answering. If Dr Reid fails to secure a meeting with the Prime Minister then he will have let my family down in the same way as his colleagues have. But it will not make us go away."

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