Letter to the Secretary of State following appointment of Ben Wallace as NIO minister

05 May 2015

Dear Secretary of State, I am writing to you following the appointment of Ben Wallace MP as NIO minister. Speaking in the Commons in 2005 Wallace made the following comment which I have copied from Hansard,

"Ben Wallace    Let me give an example. In east (sic) Belfast in 1992 two Guardsmen by the names of Fisher and Wright shot dead a man who they genuinely believed was about to carry out an act of terrorism. They were subsequently tried and found guilty of murder in the courts. They were not colluding; they did not join up with the LVF, the UVF, the Red Hand Commando, the IRA or anyone else. They made, in my view, an error, but the courts felt that they had committed murder."

We emailed Mr Wallace following these remarks in 2005 pointing out that his understanding of the prosecution and conviction of Guardsmen Wright and Fisher was inaccurate and deeply hurtful to the Mc Bride family. Mr Wallace chose not to respond. The court found that Guardsmen Wright and Fisher did not believe that Peter Mc Bride was ‘about to carry out an act of terrorism.’ Had the court accepted this defence they would not have been found guilty.

As Secretary of State you have a duty to ensure that your ministers do not seek to justify the murder of unarmed teenagers. We urge you to clarify the position of Mr Wallace as a matter of urgency. I am anxious to communicate any clarification back to the Mc Bride family. They have suffered more than enough through the appalling decision to allow the murderers of their son to re-join the British Army - a decision which brought shame on your armed forces and government and was condemned unanimously by Dail Eireann.