Ahern to brief PM on Scots soldiers

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is set discuss with Prime Minister Tony Blair the battle of a Belfast family to have their son’s killers thrown out of the British army. The family of murdered north Belfast teenager Peter McBride held an hour-long meeting with the taioseach in Dublin yesterday. The 18-year-old’s convicted killers, Scots guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher, were told they could remain in the army last month after serving six years in prison. Mr McBride’s family, who have been fighting to have the decision to allow the men to return to the armed forces overturned, welcomed Mr Ahern’s promised intervention. The teenager’s father, also called Peter McBride, yesterday said the family had been “very pleased” to get an opportunity to brief the Fianna Fail leader on their campaign. He said: “We are very pleased with the outcome. Mr Ahern was very sympathetic. He understood our feelings. “We hope he will be able to get Tony Blair to understand as well.” The McBrides were accompanied to Dublin by Paul O’Connor of the Belfast based Pat Finucane centre and a member of the Madden and Finucane solicitors’ firm. Mr O’Connor said: “We briefed the taioseach on the political and legal campaign being waged to bring about reversal of the MoD’s (Ministry of Defence) decision to keep them in the army. “He said he will raise the matter directly with Tony Blair and he asked us to keep him briefed on the campaign as it progresses.” Father-of-two Peter McBride was shot in the back moments after he had been searched by an army patrol in September 1992. Fisher, from Arbroath and Wright, from Ayr, later claimed they believed the teenager had been carrying a coffee jar bomb. But the claim was rubbished at their trial. The men were released from prison on licence in September and within weeks the army announced they were to rejoin their regiment.