THE daughter of a West Belfast man who was gunned down by a shadowy British Army unit says she "just wanted to clear his name".
Yesterday it was revealed a former British soldier is to be prosecuted for the murder of Patrick McVeigh (44), while three other veterans will also face prosecution for attempted murder. Due to the timing of the decisions, the cases are not affected by the Legacy Act.
Patrick McVeigh was shot dead by the Military Reaction Force (MRF) at the junction of Riverdale Park South and Finaghy Road North on 13 May 1972.
Mr McVeigh had stopped to speak to unarmed members of the Catholic Ex-Servicemen’s Association, who were manning a civilian checkpoint, when plainclothes members of the covert MRF opened fire. They shot four men, killing Patrick McVeigh and wounding the others. The unit also shot and injured a fifth man walking on the other side of the street.
In 2020, seven former British soldiers were referred to the Public Prosecution Service as part of an investigation into the MRF.
Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Patrick's daughter Patricia said it has been a long road to getting a prosecution.
"I am delighted. I couldn’t believe that we are entitled to a prosecution after all these years," she said.
Bitter-sweet news as always for campaigning families - great heroes who have fought tirelessly for truth and justice for decades but still face the grave injustice of British state intransigence and its disgraceful Legacy Act #MRF #MilitaryReactionForce https://t.co/2phoQyVPDS— Paper Trail (@papertrailpro) February 8, 2024
"My daddy has been dead for 52 years but we have been pro-active ever since and faced many challenges along the way.
"The prosecution falls before the cut-off before the controversial Legacy Bill. I am very sorry for all the families who will not get justice.
"As a family, our ambition was to clear daddy's name. He was shot dead and four other men injured. The MRF said they were gunmen. My father and the other four men were not gunmen. He was an innocent victim who was heading home on a Friday night.
"He was doing no harm to anyone and this rogue unit of the British Army were driving about and intent on shooting innocent people."
Patricia says the murder has had a lasting impact on her family.
"I am hoping this prosecution will help give us some sort of closure as a family. This has had a lasting impact on my family," she added. "My youngest sister was just eight years of age when her daddy was killed.
"My sister and two brothers passed away never having seen justice. I always wanted to keep fighting on in their memory and because my father was such a good man.
"I couldn’t sit back and let his name be tainted by British soldiers who made up a story that he was a gunman when he wasn’t.
"My family are no different to a soldier's family. If your father had been murdered, would you not want to clear his name also?"