Satisfaction at US hearings on collusion
Raymond McCord has said he could not have hoped for anything better from the Congressional hearing in the United States into his son’s killing.
The Belfast man gave evidence on Thursday as the main witness to the hearing into the murder of 22-year-old Raymond McCord Jr near Belfast in 1997.
His father has since led a lengthy campaign to expose collusion between the RUC police and the unionist paramilitary UVF in the case, which involves British government agents and police informers.
McCord testified that man who gave the orders to kill his son was loyalist UVF terrorist Mark Haddock. McCord told Congress that Haddock was “a longtime paid British Government agent, police informer and serial killer as the Police Ombudsman’s Report of 2007 established.”
McCord said his son’s case was not about police corruption, but was “about police and state collusion in murder.”
“A democratic society requires that the police must not be above the law. Rather, they must uphold it, and be seen to do so. Yet my son’s case clearly demonstrates that in Northern Ireland some police officers and their agents can literally get away with murder.
“This is not only collusion but also collusion sanctioned from the very top. It is not about the corruption of a few bad apples. What does it do to Northern Ireland society when the government pays serial killers,” McCord asked Congress in his testimony.
Speaking from Capitol Hill, Mr McCord expressed deep satisfaction with the hearing.
“Congressman Delahunt, the Chairman of the Hearing, and the other Members of Congress could not have been more supportive,” he said.
“It has given me great consolation and encouragement. The congress of the United States has assured me they are not going to quit until I get justice for Raymond, and, needless to say, neither am I.”
Mr McCord also expressed his thanks to Fr. Sean Mc Manus, president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus.
“I am deeply grateful to Fr. McManus for helping to make it possible,” he said.
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs also heard testimony from Nuala O’Loan who served as the first Police Ombudsman (watchdog), who reported on the collusion in north Belfast which led to the death of Raymond McCord’s son.
In her testimony, Mrs O’Loan said: “What we did find was that Special Branch, the Intelligence arm, dominated the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)”. She blamed “an absence of proper policy and controls” for the killings.
Also testifying was John Finucane, who lost his father to collusion between British forces and the unionist paramilitary UDA.
Pat Finucane, a 39-year-old lawyer, was shot dead in front of his family when gunmen burst into his north Belfast home.
It emerged subsequently that three top UDA men involved in the planning and execution of the murder were also working for the British intelligence services at the time.