Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams yesterday held talks with the father of a unionist paramilitary murder victim and vowed to back his campaign for justice.
Raymond McCord met Mr Adams at the party’s headquarters in west Belfast to discuss the Ulster Volunteer Force killing of his son, Raymond Jnr. The 22-year-old former RAF operator, was beaten to death and dumped in a north Belfast quarry in 1997.
A UVF man involved in the murder has been protected because he is a PSNI police Special Branch agent.
Mr Adams pledged to raise the case with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and 26-County Taoiseach Bertie Ahern later this week.
After the 45-minute meeting the West Belfast MP said: “I think the McCord family have the right to truth and that is essentially what Raymond McCord is looking for.
“He is looking for the truth about the murder of his son.
“I think there is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that British agents were involved in that killing.”
Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is due to report on her investigation into the allegations later this year.
Mr McCord has already held talks with other party leaders.
He is trying to arrange meetings with Mr Ahern and DUP leader Ian Paisley.
Mr McCord admitted he was concerned at how the unionist community would react to his meeting with the Sinn Féin leader.
“What I say to people is that I have done this in the open,” he said.
“I have come to meet Gerry Adams in the open whereas representatives of the UVF met with republicans in Clonard Monastery and went down and had secret meetings with the Dublin government.
“Nearly 30 people were murdered by this one group but not one person has been convicted and not one person has been charged.
“What does that tell the rest of the people in this country?” he said.
Outlining his case, Mr McCord said his son was murdered by UVF members on the orders of a Special Branch informer.
“There was cover up after cover up in my son’s murder and a lot of other murders that were carried out by the UVF,” he said.