27 October 2005

Dáil rules out public inquiry into man's death

BreakingNews.ie

27/10/2005 - 19:31:39

The Government tonight ruled out a public inquiry into the alleged murder of a Belfast man by RUC police informers.

Raymond McCord, 22, was beaten to death by a gang who later dumped his body in a quarry in north Belfast in November 1997.

Mr McCord’s father, Raymond Snr, later alleged that RUC special branch officers blocked the police inquiry into the murder because it implicated two Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members who were both alleged police informers.

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is currently completing a two-year investigation into the allegations by Mr McCord Snr.

Irish Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte tonight claimed under parliamentary privilege in the Dáil parliament that two Special Branch informers Mark Haddock and John Bond were present when Mr McCord was murdered.

Mr Rabbitte called for an international public inquiry into the affair as soon as the Ombudsman’s report is published.

But Noel Treacy, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, replied in the Dáil that the Government had complete confidence in the independence and competence of the Ombudsman’s office in carrying out a rigorous investigation.

He added: “In the context of the sensitive stage that the investigation has reached, any comment on the possible establishment of an independent inquiry into this issue would be premature.

“The government will continue to monitor developments in this case very closely and will give its immediate and careful consideration to the Ombudsman’s report and any recommendations it makes.”

The minister said the Ombudsman’s investigations were largely complete and that an interim report had been sent to the Public Prosecution Service in the North.

A final report will be seen to the PPS shortly and the public report will be released following the PPS’s deliberations.

Mr Rabbitte added under privilege: “Mr McCord has lost a 22-year-old son to a violent and ruthless organisation that seems to have operated with the surreptitious sanction of the police.

“We owe it to him and to all others who have lost family, friends and neighbours, to ensure that they receive justice.”

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