NI parties back McCord murder inquiry

 

Democratic Unionists today backed calls for an investigation into the murder of an ex-RAF man in Northern Ireland.

Raymond McCord (22) was beaten to death in a north Belfast quarry in November 1997 by an Ulster Volunteer Force gang infiltrated by the security forces.

The police investigation into the matter was supported during a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly.


It is about families who deserve to have the truth acknowledged and admitted - Gerry Adams


DUP MLA Nelson McCausland said: “Justice is something that every victim and every victim’s family would naturally seek after and like everyone else they deserve to have justice.

“We would therefore support not only their search for justice but the ongoing criminal investigation into these murders because if we are to have justice then those investigations need to be followed through to completion and we would certainly call on all individuals and organisations to co-operate fully with the Police Ombudsman (Al Hutchinson) and with the PSNI in their investigations.”

Mr McCord had been a member of the UVF and is also said to have had some involvement in drugs.

Police Federation members have accused former Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan of leading a witch-hunt against the Royal Ulster Constabulary to undermine its reputation.

The rank-and-file police union broke off contact with her in March 2007 - two months after her report into Mr McCord’s murder.

The dossier said Special Branch members had protected a UVF gang which killed up to 16 people in north Belfast.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the extent of collusion with the security forces was breathtaking.

“It was an intractable part of the very fabric of the British system’s political and counter-insurgency strategy,” he said.

He added that the Ombudsman’s report into the 1994 Loughinsland pub shooting, Co Down, by the UVF of six Catholics would be published soon.

“I would ask the members opposite (unionists) not to knee-jerk,” he said. “This is very much in the interest of unionists as it is in everyone else to get the truth of all of this out.

“It is about families who deserve to have the truth acknowledged and admitted.”

The family of murdered south Armagh man Paul Quinn were also expected to attend today’s debate.

Mr Quinn (21) from Cullyhanna, died last October after being attacked and beaten at a shed near Castleblayney in County Monaghan.

His family blamed members of the IRA and said he had defied an order to leave the country. Sinn Fein rejected any republican involvement in the murder.

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said: “The collective effect of the actions by certain members of Special Branch and the police was to protect informants and in particular Informant One (Mark Haddock) from investigation.

“That must never happen again in our lifetime, we must prevent any further new collusion and when it comes to matters of national security, Mr Speaker, I would remind people to remember that, so that we put in place mechanisms to prevent that ever happening again.”

PA