Northern Ireland

Colum Marks: Officer who shot IRA man 'deserves medal'

Colum Marks Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Colum Marks was shot 26 years ago in Downpatrick, County Down

Police officers involved in the killing of an IRA member should be given medals rather than investigated, a DUP MP has said.

Colum Marks was shot 26 years ago in Downpatrick, County Down.

A new investigation was to be launched into his killing in June 2016 after a new eyewitness account emerged.

Ian Paisley said the man who fired the shot would be "traumatised" by another investigation.

He added the British government should be honouring the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer and his team for "taking out one of Ulster's worst terrorist criminals" rather than "dragging them through the process of constantly going over what they did".

The police officer who fired the shots previously said he believed Marks was armed at the time, and claimed he refused to stop when an attempt was made to arrest him.

No gun was ever found, and his family claimed Mr Marks was shot after being arrested.

'Friend of mine'

"The officer who dispatched Marks has now been through three individual inquests," Mr Paisley told Kris Hopkins, a junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office in the Commons.

"I know the chap personally, he's a friend of mine growing up.

"He has gone through an ombudsman's inquest and now hanging over him is a second ombudsman's inquest.

"His wife and his family will be traumatised by it and that's why I said he and his team should have been given a medal that night.

"That should be the honour our state should be giving to these people, not dragging them through the process of constantly going over what they did."

Mr Hopkins said he understood the passion shown by Mr Paisley, adding: "I just think it's important there is balance and it is proportionate in our response and the state's response to this."