Tuesday 24 April 2018

Eoghan Harris: Time to clear the name of this soldier of bad fortune

'This is the saddest story I have ever heard." So begins Ford Maddox Ford's famous novel, The Good Soldier. But his fiction is not as sad as the true and tragic story of Lieutenant Donal de Roiste.

Forty years ago, on June 27, 1969, the President, on the advice of the Government, "retired" second Lieutenant de Roiste. He was never charged with a crime, his request for a court martial was refused, he was deprived of due process.

De Roiste has spent the past 40 years doggedly trying to clear his name. Last week, Seanad Eireann gave him a glimmer of hope. In response to a private members' motion tabled by myself, Joe O'Toole, David Norris and Shane Ross, and supported by all parties, the Government agreed to ask the Judge Advocate General to appoint an independent nominee to review de Roiste's case.

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