Category: Archive

McCord boosted by U.S. support

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

First up, he was hoping for letters from members of Congress to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging Brown to meet with him and his family,
He also wants a congressional hearing into the murder of his son, Raymond Jr., who was killed by loyalists in 1997.
And he wants the setting up of a full, independent and public inquiry into that murder, a probe along the lines being demanded by the Finucane family for murdered Belfast attorney Pat Finucane.
“Tony Blair met with the Finucane family. Geraldine Finucane is a friend of mine,” McCord said during a visit to the Echo office, one of many stops during his fortnight in America hosted by Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus.
“Terrorists working for the state murdered my son. The man who ordered it was involved in twenty murders. And he is being protected by people in the security forces McCord said.
The McCord case came under renewed scrutiny in the context of reports last year that a specialist team of PSNI detectives was given a million pounds to fund an investigation into the involvement of UVF member and Special Branch informer Mark Haddock and his Mount Vernon (North Belfast) UVF unit in more than 16 murders.
Haddock’s criminal career came under the spotlight in early 2007 when a report compiled by then Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, pointed to RUC Special Branch officers running cover for Haddock and his gang. The word “babysat” was used to describe the protection afforded Haddock and other thugs as they went about their murderous ways.
McCord, a Protestant and unabashed unionist – though not affiliated with any unionist party – has waged a one man publicity war against Haddock and the Mount Vernon UVF for the past twelve years.
McCord, despite living under constant death threat, has been pointing an accusatory finger at Haddock, who is currently in jail, and has written a book entitled “Justice For Raymond.”
He described his U.S. visit, which included stopovers in Washington, D.C. and New York, as being a high point in his twelve year battle for justice.
“I leave with a gladdened heart and uplifted spirits. I am humbled by the remarkable reception I received, by the outpouring of support for my continued struggle to get justice for my son. My cause was embraced by Irish Americans, Jewish Americans, African Americans, Italian Americans, by people of all religions and by those whose religion I did not know or care to know,” said McCord before returning to Northern Ireland at the end of last week.
“It was so strikingly different from that of many politicians at home, especially those who are supposed to support the unionist people,” said McCord of his visits to Capitol Hill.
McCord’s one note of disappointment about his visit was directed not at Washington politicians, but at the British embassy in Washington where his plea, according to a statement from the INC, was met with “virtual silence.”
“Isn’t it ironic, if not sickening, that the only disappointment of my entire two-week trip was my visit to my own British embassy. But that disappointment has only confirmed my belief that pressure from America is my only hope for justice for my son,” McCord said.
“Anyone who knows Mr. McCord knows he’s no softie. He is one of the hardest of hard men, considered by some to be one of the best bare-knuckle fighters in Belfast for many years,” said Fr. Sean McManus of what many would consider an unlikely guest.
“He has waged an extraordinary one-man battle to get justice for his son in the face of constant threats and danger to his life. Nothing has deterred this man’s devotion to his murdered son. Yet he was clearly touched by his visit to Capitol Hill,” said McManus.
Explained McCord: “No church minister ever showed solidarity with my family; they were scared of the Protestant paramilitaries, the police and the British government. They did not want to take on the establishment. Had it not been for the brave Nuala O’ Loan, my son’s case would have perished.
“But even she could only take the case so far. That is why I had to turn to America and to Fr. Sean Mc Manus and his many friends in the U.S. Congress”.
In speaking to the Echo, McCord said that the “icing on the cake” after his visit would be a congressional hearing, this because the right questions could and would be asked.
“The two highest profile cases of state collusion in murder are those of Pat Finucane and Raymond McCord Jr. Both were victims of the agents of the state,” McCord said.
He expressed confidence that someday he would see his mission accomplished.
“We’ll get there at the end of the day,” he said.
And why did he keep going even if that day still seemed a long way off, if not out of reach entirely.
“If it was me who was murdered, Raymond Jr. would be doing what I’m doing,” he said.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese