IRA MAN'S SHOOTING 'UNLAWFUL' Report Is Critical of Soldiers

The Mirror (London, England), January 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

IRA MAN'S SHOOTING 'UNLAWFUL' Report Is Critical of Soldiers


Byline: JILLY BEATTIE j.beattie@mgn.co.uk

BRITISH soldiers were unjustified in shooting dead an IRA man 40 years ago, a report said yesterday.

Joe McCann, 24, a member of the Official IRA, was hit several times when challenged near his home in the Markets district of Belfast. He was running away at the time.

The Historical Enquiries Team probe also accused police of failing to properly investigate the "unlawful" killing of the father of four.

It said: "We consider Joe's actions did not amount to the level of specific threat which could have justified the soldiers opening fire in accordance with the Army Rules of Engagement."

Mr McCann was shot on April 15, 1972 in Joy Street just weeks after Bloody Sunday. Campaigners have claimed the same soldiers were involved.

Mr McCann's daughter Nuala said: "The shooting of our father was not justified."

He was one of the Official IRA's most prominent activists in the early years of the conflict, and his seizure of a bakery in Belfast during the internment became part of republican folklore.

The HET said he was described in death notices as a staff officer in the Official IRA and was regarded by members of the security forces as a dangerous terrorist who would be armed and would not hesitate to use his weapon to resist arrest.

Two RUC Special Branch officers recognised Mr McCann in disguise near the city centre and decided to arrest him on suspicion of attempted murder. Soldiers on patrol nearby were ordered to help.

Following a confrontation with a police officer, he fled. Evidence from police and soldiers was that they shouted at him to stop or they would open fire. After he failed to halt, three paratroopers opened fire and he was hit by two or three bullets. …

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