Royston’s ride aiming to spotlight ‘troop injustice’

Royston Brett
Royston Brett

A former paratrooper and military campaigner is back on his bike to highlight what he says are injustices against ex-troops who served in Northern Ireland.

Royston Brett, from Golborne, is pedalling from Edinburgh to London in support of former personnel now possibly facing legal battles for their actions in the province during the Troubles.

Royston is taking on the marathon cycling challenge to raise awareness of Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, which wants the Government to step in and stop the potential prosecution of British soldiers.

His ride from the Scottish capital to London will end with a march past Downing Street which thousands of ex-armed forces members are expected to attend.

It is not the first time Royston has used his cycling skills to support the military, having previously taken on a similar ride for the Justice for Marine A campaign.

He says the possibility of Army veterans being hauled up in front of Northern Irish courts for alleged abuses while serving there has particularly angered him.

He said: “Why is it OK to prosecute our troops for these events when IRA activists are walking the streets free and can’t be prosecuted under the Good Friday Agreement?

“The agreements should have stopped everything, but apparently they can prosecute soldiers. We are trying to get the British Government to intervene to stop these prosecutions going ahead.

“I believe there are about seven or eight cases of witch-hunting British troops who have fired their weapons in Northern Ireland.”

Royston set off from Edinburgh on Sunday and is set to arrive in London on Thursday, stopping off at Mediacity for a North West show of support for the campaign.

He will complete the journey on Friday in Parliament Square, where the march will finish the following day.

Veterans took to the streets in major cities across the UK earlier this year to protest the possible legal cases around the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

They say they are not against soldiers’ being prosecuted for genuine crimes but believe the majority of the cases being brought are based on unfounded allegations.

Royston served in the Parachute Regiment from 1988 to 2003 and did tours of duty in Northern Ireland as well as serving in the Middle East. He has campaigned extensively on veterans’ issues, including tackling post-traumatic stress disorder, and also done cycle rides to help community projects in the borough.