28 October 2005

'Informer escaped murder charges'

Belfast Telegraph

Labour leader accuses men in Dail

By David Gordon
28 October 2005

A leading Ulster loyalist was linked to a string of murders while working as a police Special Branch informer, a leading Dublin politician has claimed under parliamentary privilege.

Mark Haddock from north Belfast was accused in the Dail of being the UVF terrorist at the centre of a major investigation by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

A Shankill-based loyalist, John 'Bunter' Graham, was also named during the debate as a UVF chief.

The allegations were made by Pat Rabbitte, leader of the Irish Labour Party.

Thirty-nine-year-old Haddock is currently awaiting trial on a charge of attempting to murder a Co Antrim pub doorman in December 2002.

During yesterday's Dail debate, Mr Rabbitte alleged that the UVF murder of ex-RAF airman Raymond McCord (22), in Newtownabbey in November 1997 was carried out on Haddock's orders.

Mr McCord's father Raymond Snr has alleged for years that a Special Branch agent was responsible for his son's murder.

His claims have been the subject of a long-running probe by the Police Ombudsman.

A report on the findings of this investigation is believed to be near to completion.

Mr Rabbitte said it was alleged by Mr McCord Snr that his son was killed to prevent Shankill UVF chief John "Bunter" Graham finding out about Haddock's drug operations.

The TD also claimed that another Special Branch informer, whom he named as John Bond, was present at the murder.

Calling for an international public inquiry to be established once the Ombudsman's report is published, Mr Rabbitte said: "The central allegation is that Haddock was not charged with any crime because he was an informer who had to be protected.

"He was able to act with impunity, while the police effectively colluded in his crimes."

Mr Rabbitte also claimed that Haddock was associated to the murders of seven others while serving as a RUC police informer.

According to Mr Rabbitte, these murders were: Catholic builders Gary Convie and Eamon Fox in 1994; alleged informer Thomas Sheppard in 1996; Protestant clergyman, Rev David Templeton in 1997; Billy Harbison in 1997; former loyalist politician Tommy English in 2000 and David Greer in 2000. Mr McCord Snr travelled down to Dublin for the Dail session. He held talks with Mr Rabbitte last week in a meeting arranged by former Newtownabbey Labour councillor Mark Langhammer, who is now a member of the Irish Labour Party's national executive. Mr Langhammer today said the McCord case will be the "ultimate litmus test" for establishing accountable policing here.

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