Irish Republican News · February 8, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Raymond McCord to address SF Ard Fheis

Sinn Féin has confirmed that Raymond McCord Snr has agreed to speak at this year’s Sinn Féin Ard Fheis at the end of this month.

Following the murder of his son, Mr McCord’s pursued a determined but lonely campaign to expose the role of PSNI collusion in the killing.

The campaign ultimately motivated an investigation by the Police Ombudsman, resulting in a shocking report that revealed widespread collusion between the PSNI and unionist paramilitaries in north Belfast. In particular, it confirmed that Raymond McCord Jnr was killed in order to protect Mark Haddock, a PSNI agent within the Mount Vernon UVF.

Mr McCord is to become the first Protestant victim of the conflict to address a Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. He provoked controversy at a convention held by the Irish American Unity Conference in Boston in October, describing former IRA prisoners who were present as “terrorists”.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson welcomed Mr McCord’s attendance at the Ard Fheis. He said the issue of collusion and the deadly activity of agents and informers were “a crucial part” of the conflict that is “yet to be told”.

“Collusion took many forms, but was primarily institutional and run by British security and intelligence agencies. They colluded in the murder of hundreds of people,” he said.

“This British government, like all its predecessors, has gone to extraordinary lengths to cover-up collusion, including changing the legal basis of any inquiries.”

Asked about possible criticism from within his own Protestant community over attending the Sinn Féin conference in Dublin, Mr McCord said: ‘The Democratic Unionist Party are getting paid salaries to sit down with Sinn Féin at Stormont. What I am doing is engaging with the same people, at their conference, without any payment or favour. I have no apology to make about being prepared to do that.’

Mr McCord said he felt it was his duty to speak to Sinn Féin about the collusion issue. ‘I am certainly not going to pull any punches when I deliver my speech. I will tell the delegates something many of them probably already know - that collusion was a two-way street.

‘The security forces had high-profile informers working not only in organisations like the UVF and UDA, but also within the IRA. I know for a fact there are cases where policemen and soldiers died at the hands of IRA informers. They were allowed to die in order to protect the identity of the informants.”

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© 2008 Irish Republican News