MoD Apology to Derry family

24 April 2013

A British Government minister today apologised to the family of William Mc Greanery who was shot dead by a soldier in Derry in 1971. The apology was offered, twice, during a 30 minute adjournment debate on the issue that SDLP MP Mark Durkan had secured at Westminster. The case of Robert Mc Kinnie, shot dead by paratroopers in the Shankill area in 1972, was also raised. The SDLP MP also raised the general issue of the need for the British Government to apologise in each and every case without families needing to ‘shop around’ for an MP to raise the case in parliament.

Speaking on behalf of the family Billy Mc Greanery said,

"We are proud that this process has finally taken place, and that Billy has been officially and publicly exonerated. There should have been an official public response after we received the private apology from the Ministry of Defence for the wrongful killing of Billy.

If, the government had shown any shred of common decency or genuine remorse for the shooting dead of Billy, this process should have been offered to us automatically. It is high time the British government take responsibility for the crimes that soldiers committed while serving in Northern Ireland.

We believe, at that time, government agencies did everything in their power to pervert the course of justice and used the media to justify wrongful killings by branding innocent people gunmen and bombers.

We would hope that the British government would take note of the above points raised and implement changes so that other families can achieve the truth in a more dignified fashion. They should also start to accept the fact that terrible injustices were carried out in Northern Ireland on behalf of the British government and we have no doubt whatsoever that with the passage of time a lot more cases like our own will be proved.

We would like to give our eternal thanks to all the members of the Pat Finucane Centre who worked tirelessly to help us with the favourable outcome.  We feel that we have achieved as much as is humanly possible given the restrictions that are still in place today. We have not given up hope in pursuing a prosecution of the soldier who admitted the homicide. We understand (under the Good Friday agreement) he may never serve any fitting custodial sentence but he would lose his right to anonymity and his identity revealed and his actions finally acknowledged as a criminal act.

We would like to convey all our hopes and best wishes to all the families who are still embroiled in cases to uncover the truth."