Raymond McCord testified before the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight about the killing of his son, Raymond, Jr., near Belfast in 1997.
McCord has long alleged that his son’s killers were associated with the Ulster Volunteer Force, that one was a paid informant of the police and that police (the RUC at the time) colluded in the killing of his son.
“The continuing campaign of intimidation and death threats against my family and me is not random,” McCord told the subcommittee, chaired by Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA.)
He testified that those responsible for his son’s death are aided and shielded even today by law enforcement authorities in Northern Ireland.
John Finucane, the son of murdered Belfast lawyer Patrick Finucane, also asked at the hearing for Congress to intervene and persuade British officials to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the 1989 shooting of his father, and the links the murders under scrutiny at the hearing had to the Northern Ireland police force.
Finucane testified, with his brother Michael seated behind him, that he and his family now have a remaining single desire twenty years after the death of their father.
“If the British government is serious about resolving the situation in Northern Ireland for good and building a lasting peace, then all we ask is this one simple thing: they cannot give me back my father; the least they can do is tell me the truth.”
The Northern Ireland police ombudsman from 1999 to 2007, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, testified via video uplink.
She detailed much of her exhaustive investigation into collusion amongst some members of the Northern Ireland police force and deadly Protestant paramilitary gangs, but she appeared to shock many of the members of the subcommittee when she explained that to this day there is no law expressly against collusion on the books in the United Kingdom.
O’Loan reiterated that she had no doubt that collusion played a role in many high profile murders in Northern Ireland over a number of years. She said that much of her recommendations, however, on cleaning up personnel and procedures for the police in the North, has been implemented.
The director of the human rights group, British Irish Rights Watch, Jane Winter, asked in her testimony that the British government not impede any investigation into past or present collusion and not to offer “amnesty” to those who may have been involved in collusion by hiding past offenses in the name of “national security.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland was not represented at the hearing and there were no representatives from the British government giving testimony. Committee staff members said that there had been no other witnesses asked to appear at the hearing other than those that testified.
Ten years ago, in the same hearing room, Chris Patten testified before the same subcommittee about policing in Northern Ireland.
Congressional Friends of Ireland chairman, Rep. Richard Neal said after the hearing that he would be circulating a letter urging British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other British officials to meet with Raymond McCord.
“We are not here today to reopen old wounds, but rather to support Raymond McCord in his search for justice. No one should feel threatened by the pursuit of the truth and for justice as without justice there is no peace,” said Rep. Donald Payne.