Veteran protests against prosecutions

Carrick man Jim McCaw.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Carrick man Jim McCaw.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A Carrickfergus veteran took part in a protest in Belfast city centre last Wednesday against the prosecution of ex-Armed Forces personnel.

Jim McCaw, a PUP representative, took part in the small demonstration outside the headquarters of the Public Prosecution Service.

The protest lasted about 40 minutes, and saw half-a-dozen demonstrators unfurl banners at Belfast’s Chichester Street. Mr. McCaw who has served in the Royal Artillery, UDR and Royal Irish Regiment, said: “We see people like (alleged IRA bomber-turned-MLA) Gerry Kelly calling for justice, calling for equality, et cetera et cetera – all the while with a pardon from Her Majesty the Queen tucked in his back pocket.

“What we would say is if you’ve broken the law, absolutely you should face the consequences.

“But what we can’t have is the imbalance of republicans with on-the-run letters, with royal pardons, calling for the same thing... they can’t have their cake and eat it, and the playing field ultimately has got to be levelled,” he claimed.

Gesturing to the courthouse behind him, he said republicans should “hand in their royal prerogatives, hand in their on-the-run letters, and take their chances in places like this, where everybody else has to take their chances and face the law”.

Previously, veterans have stated that they will not “stand by and watch former comrades being singled out for prosecution”.

Mr McCaw said that veterans are “not looking for anything special” but they are seeking equality noting that some have already been through the courts and found not guilty.