24 September 2005

Woodward 'put lives at risk'

Belfast Telegraph

By Alan Erwin
24 September 2005

NORTHERN Ireland Security Minister Shaun Woodward has put lives at risk by sending police a confidential dossier on an alleged Special Branch plot with loyalist paramilitary killers, it was claimed last night.

The authors of the report into ex-RAF man Raymond McCord's murder are incensed by the decision to give Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde a copy.

Alleged rogue police officers and UVF agents who, it is claimed, ordered the brutal killing in 1997, are named in files prepared by the British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW).

Mr McCord's father Raymond Sr believes Special Branch blocked the investigation and demanded the report be withheld from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

BIRW director Jane Winter, who sent copies to the United Nations and the United States Congress as well as the Government, said she was stunned by Mr Woodward's decision.

"If anybody in a position of responsibility read our report they would have seen why we did not send it to the police," she said. "There's a real danger that it will end up in the hands of the UVF, if the collusion and protection of informers we allege is still going on.

"That's why it was so irresponsible of Shaun Woodward."

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