IRA member’s death deemed unlawful

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Soldiers who shot dead an IRA man in Belfast 40 years ago were unjustified in opening fire, a new 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. He was running away at the time.

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) also accused police of failing to properly investigate the unlawful killing of the married father-of-four.

The review team’s report said: “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 or their standard operating procedures.”

Mr McCann was shot on 15 April, 1972 in Joy Street in the Markets, a mainly nationalist area near Belfast city centre.