21 November 2002 Edition

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Durkan backs McBride campaign

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has pledged support to the McBride family in their campaign to have the two British soldiers who killed 18-year-old Peter McBride discharged from the British Army. Durkan made his pledge after meeting Peter McBride's mother Jean on Friday 15 November.

McBride was shot dead by Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher in the New Lodge Road area of North Belfast in September 1992.

The pair were later convicted of murdering the New Lodge man but in September 1998 they were given early release by the then British Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam. They had served just four years of their life sentences and allowed back into the British Army two months later.

Durkan hurged political leaders in Ireland to back the family's bid to terminate the careers of the two Scots Guards and hit out at British Prime Minister Tony Blair for spurning the campaign. He accused Blair of defending the indefensible.

"Nowhere else in Europe would murderers be found fit to serve in an army. Murder is murder. Seeing the early release of these killers was difficult for the McBride family but they accepted it in the context of the peace process but they should not have to accept that two murderers are kept on in the British Army and this is an insult to basic human rights".

Peter's mother, Jean McBride, said she had met Durkan for over an hour and believed he was genuinely concerned.

Durkan said he will be writing to all political parties in Ireland asking them to highlight the injustice done to the McBride family.

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