The Colonel Commandant of the British Parachute Regiment has issued a message of support for former members who were involved in Bloody Sunday.
The message on the Parachute Regiment facebook site was released following the arrest of a former member of the Para’s who was questioned in relation to four shootings on January 30, 1972.
It is understood the man, referred to at the Saville Inquiry as ‘Lance Corporal J’, was questioned over the deaths of William Nash, John Young and Michael McDaid and was also quizzed in relation to the wounding of Alexander Nash in Derry almost 44 years ago. The ex-soldier was released last night on police bail pending further enquiries.
It has also emerged that lawyers acting for another seven of the ex-Parachute Regiment members have applied for a judicial review over the way the PSNI are handling the murder investigation into Bloody Sunday. The legal representatives are understood to have claimed that the investigation is being pursued for political reasons and have also requested that those who may be in line for arrest be given 24 hours notice of it so they can arrange to present themselves at local police stations.
The statement placed on the Parachute Regiment website was prior to the release of ‘Lance Corporal J’ last night and reads as follows: “ RHQ (Regimental Headquaters) PARA WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD SHARE THE MESSAGE BELOW FROM THE COLONEL COMMANDANT AND THE REGIMENT ACROSS YOUR NETWORKS.
“You will be aware that a former soldier, from our Regiment, has been arrested as part of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday. While the Regiment cannot comment on an ongoing PSNI investigation it is important, the wider Regiment know, that RHQ is in communication with the appropriate department within the MOD and Army HQ; and that the former member of the Regiment is being offered the appropriate support.
“The Colonel Commandant appreciates that this is a difficult time for both the veteran and his family, and assures them of our support while this case is being investigated. He would also like to remind all our former servicemen that RHQ is able to offer support should it be required. Should any of you have concerns surrounding your participation in Op BANNER (the campaign in Northern Ireland), RHQ PARA is able to provide welfare support to you and your families should it be required.
“If you wish to speak to the Regimental Secretary he can be contacted on 01206 817082 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Your help in this matter is much appreciated.”