A UNIONIST MP has vowed to raise at Westminster the need to fully examine the circumstances of the Bloody Sunday massacre.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell will highlight the backdrop of IRA terror which led to the Parachute Regiment being deployed on the day of the 1972 killings.
He was speaking in the wake of a report that some veterans of the regiment fear that their identities will become known after an army appeal to dozens of former paratroopers to volunteer their names and addresses to the new PSNI probe into the killings.
The Daily Mail said that the move has sparked a backlash from the soldiers – some now in their 70s.
Mr Campbell said: “The most recent revelations around the need for confidentiality are entirely understandable given the police decision to interview former soldiers.
“Throughout the lengthy inquiry process many of us warned that whatever the outcome would be it would merely serve to prolong problems associated with it.
“At the time of the publication of the Saville Report there were those naive enough to believe that a prime ministerial ‘apology’ following a flawed and partisan report would bring to an end this expensive attempt to rewrite history. I and others, despite sustained criticism, stated that this would not be the case.”
The MoD has asked those involved during Bloody Sunday to contact the ministry. The PSNI inquiry could lead to criminal prosecutions of veterans.
On Saturday, the Mail quoted an ex para who was on duty on Bloody Sunday saying the development “has caused considerable anger”.
He said: “We see this as a clear warning that the identities of those soldiers doing their duty that day in appalling circumstances and under attack on the streets of Britain are in real danger of leaking out with obvious consequences.”
An MOD spokesman told the News Letter: “We are committed to protecting the identity of former soldiers who gave evidence during the Saville Inquiry.
“We recently sent a letter to the regimental secretaries to make them aware that we may be obliged to provide the PSNI with details of former soldiers as part of their investigation. We will take great care to identify the names that are subject to an anonymity order clearly so that they continue to be protected.”
In Westminster this week Mr Campbell intends to raise a “fundamental issue” surrounding Bloody Sunday: “Why were soldiers required in the Bogside on January 30th 1972? What was the level of murder and terror that required a military presence on that day? Who were the leading participants in terror during the build up to the day itself?
“Police asking questions of former soldiers while not asking questions of the former second in command of the PIRA (Martin McGuinness) will only compound the problems created by Saville. It also only adds further poison to the current atmosphere where many unionists want an end to what are perceived to be double standards in many aspects of life in Northern Ireland.”