Devastating critique of the Ministry of Defence at today’s inquest verdict into the death of Stephen Geddis, aged 10. Scientists warned MoD plastic bullets must be aimed at lower limbs but military rules still advised soldiers to “bounce” them, recklessly risking young lives.

Bloody Sunday: Court rejects MoD’s appeal against compensation

The Bloody Sunday murders happened during a civil rights marches on the streets of Co Derry Image copyrightPA MEDIA


A Ministry of Defence (MoD) appeal against a decision to award the family of a man killed on Bloody Sunday an extra payment of £15,000 has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Senior judges rejected claims that Bernard McGuigan’s relatives were not entitled to the aggravated damages for injury to his feelings.

The MoD argued against the payment because he died instantly.

Mr McGuigan was shot as he went to the aid of another man.

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded when members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry on Sunday 30 January 1972.

On Thursday, judges backed a finding that Mr McGuigan, a father-of-six, would have experienced fear and dread when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire.

Bloody Sunday victims, top row (left to right): Patrick Doherty, Gerald Donaghey, John Duddy, Hugh Gilmour, Michael Kelly, Michael McDaid and Kevin McElhinney. Bottom row: Bernard McGuigan, Gérard McKinney, William McKinney, William Nash, James Wray and John Young

Lord Justice McCloskey said: “All of this conduct… was capable of generating in every person of normal mental fortitude in the area a reasonable apprehension of being shot or wounded.”

In 2010 the Saville Inquiry into the shootings established the innocence of all of the victims.

Those findings led to the then Prime Minister David Cameron issuing a public apology for the soldiers’ actions.

He described the killings as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

Liability has been accepted by the MoD in legal actions taken against it by those bereaved or injured.

Court proceedings have centred on the level of damages in each case, with more than £3m in total paid out to date.

Thirteen people were murdered and 15 were wounded on Bloody Sunday

Mr McGuigan, known as Barney, was a painter and decorator.

He was shot at the Rossville Flats area as he went to the aid of 31-year-old Patrick Doherty, who was also shot dead on the day.

The 41-year-old had been waving a handkerchief or towel when he was hit by a bullet to the head, killing him instantly.

A claim by his estate was settled for £258,000.

A High Court judge then awarded a further £15,000 in aggravated damages.

He found that the soldier’s actions would have “filled the deceased with fear and dread, coupled with a strong sense of indignation and hurt at being the innocent victim of a blatant, unprovoked and unjust attack by members of the Army.”

Guildhall Square in Co Derry was packed for David Cameron’s apology on behalf of the British State in 2010 Image copyrightPACEMAKER

The MoD went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the additional award, claiming it was wrong in law because Mr McGuigan’s death was instantaneous.

But counsel for his family insisted the payout was justified by the terror he experienced during the shootings.

Mr McGuigan had been sheltering behind a wall when he went out to try to offer help, clearly aware he was put himself in danger, the court heard.

“That’s why he was waving the piece of towel as he went out,” the family’s barrister submitted.

Ruling on the appeal, Lord Justice McCloskey described the MoD’s case as unsustainable and affirmed the £15,000 compensation for aggravated damages.

He also made an award of costs of the hearing against the MoD.

With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story 

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A BANNER erectied by the SAS in Layneham which was later posted on social media was removed by the MOD (Ministry of Defence).

The GLOATING poster described as “inappropriate” last night by a Ministry of Defence spokesperson who also claimed no-one had reported having seen it. A picture of the poster which reads “SAS _8, IRA – 0’accopanied by the famous ‘Who Dares Wins’ logo of the SAS and an image of modern-day British soldiers in a warzone – with one appearing to jump for joy – appeared on social media.


The image’s appearance coincided with the 30th Anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs ambush in which eight IRA men and an innocent civilian were murdered by the SAS. Even though the current terror threat in Britain remains at ‘severe’ meaning an attack is highly likely, 

And despite high security around MoD premises, the sign went unnoticed as it was placed and removed right under the noses of security at the base. On Saturday night, however, the MoD  (Ministry of Defence) said it wanted nothing to do with the glorifying of the ambush, labelling the poster “inappropriate”.

MoD Lyneham, formerly an RAF base, now serves as a Defence Technical base. Earlier this month an SAS flag appeared in Loughgall village, 

Where the mass murder occurred (ambush took place), attracting much criticism. The Sunday World also obtained another photo which appears to show an SAS flag and a similar ‘scoreboard’ poster erected in the Co. Tyrone village of Moygashel. 

The Loughgall Ambush was the IRA’s biggest single loss of life in one incident and it dealt a hammer-blow to the group’s highly active East Tyrone Brigade. On May 8th,1987, the SAS opened fire on the IRA active service unit as they made their getaway after driving a digger with a bomb in the bucket through the fence of Loughgall RUC station. The bomb exploded, with the station sustaining major damage.


However, as the RUC were tipped off (had received strong information) prior to the attack and shared it with the SAD, the station had already been evacuated. Apart from one RUC officer and the SAS laying in wait for the victims. A number of whom were badly injured at the time. As the IRA unit made their escape, 36 SAS operatives open fire murdering the IRA unit from concealed positions, killing all eight of the IRA unit and an innocent civilian in cold blood the civilian who had inadvertently driven into the ‘Kill Zone’. 

The eight IRA men murdered were Jim Lynch, Gerard O’Callaghan, Eugene Kelly, Padraig McKearney, Seamus Donnelly, Declan Arthurs, Patrick Kelly and Tony Gormley. Civilian Anthony Hughes was murdered when he was caught in the cross fire. He was in a car with his brother, Oliver, who was baby wounded, as they made there way to work. Both men were wearing blue overalls similar to the ones the men in the IRA unit were wearing.

The 30th Anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs was remembered earlier this month at a commemoration event in Cappagh, Co. Tyrone, which was addressed by Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill. Last week Sinn Féin condemned the flying of the SAS flag in Loughgall, branding it an act of “glorification”.

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said: “This shameful act of glorification will only serve to add further distress to the families of the nine men as we approach the 30th Anniversary.” In a statement, an MOD spokesperson said: “We are aware of an image that shows an inappropriate poster outside MoD Lyneham and condemn its content. The poster was found, and no personnel reported seeing it.”

With many thanks to: Jamie McDowell, The Sunday World for the original story.

Daughter of woman murdered (Cumann na mBan) the female wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot dead with her sister to sue Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Maura Meehan (31) and her sister Dorothy Maguire murdered by the British Army in 1971 to sue MoD.

Daughter of shot IRA woman to sue British Army
Margaret Kennedy (Maura’s daughter) holds photographs of her mother Maura Meehan and aunt Dorothy Maguire who were shot dead at a British soldiers in west Belfast in 1971. Picture by Mal McCann
 THE daughter of an IRA woman killed along with her sister more than 45 years ago by the British Army is set to sue the Ministry of Defence. Mother-of-four Maura Meehan (31) was killed along with her sister Dorothy Maguire when soldiers open fire on a car ( pictured below) in which they were passengers in West Belfast in 1971. Both women were members of Cumann na mBan, the female wing of the IRA.

Picture’s of the car Maura and Dorothy were traveling in showing the extent of damage done in the double murder committed by the British Army.

Original examinations also found that swabs taken from Ms Maguire showed the presence of lead on one hand. However a recent ballistic forensic report commissioned by solicitors acting for the family has cast doubt on the origional findings saying they did not “provide any salient evidence to conclude that Mrs Meehan had fired a gun”.

The review added that the origional report failed to consider other sources of lead “an explanation for the presence of lead on the swabs taken from her hands”. Mr Meehan’s daughter, Margaret Kennedy (pictured above), last night welcomed the new findings.”It’s what we have said all along basically,” she said. Mrs Kennedy, who was aged nine when her mother was mudered by British Army, accused authorities of “stalling” on the case but said they would continue with their campaign until they get answers.

“All we are looking for is the truth to be told,” she said. The Ministy of Defence (MoD) did not respond to requests for a comment.

With many thanks to: The Irish News, Mal McCann (for the picture) and for the origional story.

Legal challenge to secrecy over alleged top informer

A LEGAL bid for secrecy around part of a High Court action against the alleged one-time top British agent inside the IRA is to be fiercely resisisted.

Lawyers for the former wife of another informer confirmed plans to oppose the move by police and military in her lawsuit involving West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, pictured above. With potentially major implications for other intelligence-related litigation, a senior judge on Monday listed the closed material procedures (CMPs) application for hearing early next year. Proceedings have been issued by Margaret Keeley against the chief constable, Ministry of Defence and Scappaticci, the 68-year-old who denies allegations that he was the military spy inside the Provisional IRA codenamed Stake knife. The Nearly woman’s former husband is Peter Keeley, the ex-MI5 agent who also uses the pseudonym Kevin Fulton. She alleges she was wrongfully arrested and falsely imprisoned during a three-day period at Castlereagh police station in 1994 following an IRA attempt to murder a senior detective in east Belfast. She believes her detention was part of an elaborate sham to protect her husband’s cover. Mrs Keeley was released without charge, but claims to have then been taken with Fulton to a flat in the New Lodge area of north Belfast and interrogated by an IRA security team. Mr Scappaticci was one of the men who carried out two debriefing sessions, she has previously alleged in court. But the MoD and PSNI are now seeking CMPs which would deny Mrs Keeley’s lawyers access to material in the case.

It is believed to be the first application of its kind in the North of Ireland since the Justice and Security Act 2013 extended the remit of closed hearings. The move could involve intelligence documents being assessed only by a judge and special advocate. Mrs Keeley’s legal team claim it is a draconian step using legislation brought in more to deal with the AL-Qaeda threat rather than the legacy of the Troubles. In court on Monday it was confirmed that the CMPs would be contested on the basis of being incompatible with the plaintiff’s right to a fair trial. With the main action some way off, Mr Justice Gillen set a date in January for the issue to be resolved. Mrs Keeley’s solicitor, Kevin Winters of KRW Law, said: “If this is allowed my client will not get a fair hearing because such an application offends the principle of open justice. “It is inappropriate and we will be resisting it strenuously. “This case will have enormous implications for many, many cases, particular those where there is an alleged intelligence agenda, and CMPs were never intended for this type of case.” He also noted: “This application has been brought by the MoD and chief constable, not by the lawyers for the other defendant, Fred Scappaticci.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

MoD being sued by family over Copeland shooting

John Copeland died in 1971 after being shot by the British army

THE family of a North Belfast man shot dead by the British army more than 40 years ago is to sue the Ministry of Defence.


Ardoyne man John Copeland was shot as he walked from his mother’s house to his home at Ladbrook Drive on October 28 1971, dying in hospital two days later. He is the father of high-profile republican Eddie Copeland, who himself was shot and wounded by a British soldier in 1993. The family’s solicitor Kevin Winters on Thursday night confirmed that he will also take legal action to ensure British army files connected to the case which are held in England are not destoyed. The records are among a massive haul of Troubles-related documents transferred from the North of Ireland to a warehouse in Swadlicote in Derbyshire several years ago. The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has previously said it was unable to identify two soldiers involved in the shooting and Mr Winters said the family has “serious concerns that the archive material could be destroyed or otherwise subjected to weeding and/or redaction”.


In 2011 it emerged that security force files held at Gough Barracks in Armagh had been destroyed by police, who later claimed they were contaminated by asbestos. During a 1973 inquest into Mr Copeland’s death, three soldiers claimed they opened fire on the father-of-two after he shot at them with a pistol. However, three civilian witnesses later gave evidence that Mr Copeland was not armed. On the same day another Ardoyne man, Michael McLarnon (22), was also killed by the same Green Howard army unit as he stood at the door of his Etna Drive home, while a local woman was also shot and injured. Now Mr Copeland’s widow Isobel is claiming damages from the MoD for the death of her husband, accusing them of a range of failings including negligence. His son Eddie, who was just one when his father was killed, said his death has been “hanging over the family” for four decades. “It’s all about accountability,” he said. “The man who killed my father was eventually promoted and his name has popped up in a few cases. “It’s a case of holding the state to account. I am not worried about an individual person. At the end of the day the state killed him, not an individual.” Mr Copeland was also critical of the Historical Enquires Team investigation.

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.


“MY sister Annette was shot dead by the British army here in the Bogside on 6th September 1971. She was fourteen years old.

“Annette lived in Drumcliffe Avenue with her parents and four brothers and sisters. She went to St Cecillia’s Secondary School in the Creggan. Annette was a bright and cheerful girl, “who loved and was loved by her family. She loved music and art, and was always playing with the local children.”

Annette was wearing her school uniform when she was shot in the head by a bullet and killed instantly. She was the 100th civilian to be murdered since the beginning of the Troubles, the 40th to be murdered by the security forces. Our family was left in a state of shock, totally unable to comprehend how our little sister was now dead.

The RUC didn’t investigate Annette’s murder. The soldiers weren’t arrested or prosecuted. The Attorney General at the time said that there was no evidence in the RUC file to justify a prosecution. The Ministry of Defence told our family in 2003 that four regiments had been present in the BBog side when Annette was shot and killed and it could not identify which regiment was behind the shooting. The next year they stated that the regiment involved in Annette’s murder was the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Green Jackets.

In 2007 the HET began to review Annette’s killing. We had a slight hope that we might get to the truth of what happened to our sister. Now the HET is dead in the water and forty three years after my sister was murdered we are told that her case might go to the RUC/PSNI for investigation. We do not accept an RUC/PSNI investigation.

We, the family, want truth and justice for Annette’s killing.”

With many thanks to: Pat Finucane Centre, for the original story.

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