23 February 2006

Call for publication of report into alleged police collusion

Belfast Telegraph

By David Gordon
23 February 2006

The Alliance Party today pressed for the publication of a long-awaited Police Ombudsman report on alleged collusion between the security forces and a UVF murder gang.

Alliance leader David Ford made the call after a meeting with Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was beaten to death in 1997 by UVF terrorists from Mount Vernon in north Belfast.

Mr McCord made a complaint to Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan in 2002 about the police investigation of his son's murder. He believes the killing was carried out on the orders of a high-level Special Branch informer in the UVF.

The Ombudsman's work on the case is believed to be effectively concluded, but publication has been held up while advice is obtained from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Mr Ford today said: "Clearly the allegations of collusion which Mr McCord has made are extremely serious and are of grave concern to us all.

"I share Mr McCord's confidence that the Police Ombudsman's investigations will be thorough and robust, and I will be contacting her office on his behalf to press for publication of her report at the earliest opportunity."

Alliance colleague Naomi Long MLA, who also attended the meeting, said: "The Government must realise, and realise quickly, just how important it is that people have confidence that the rule of law is being applied fairly. The security forces are subject to the law just like anyone else."

The fact that the Police Ombudsman has sought advice from the PPS has raised speculation that her report could recommend the prosecution of past or present members of the security forces.

Mr McCord is planning discussions with a number of party leaders and is also due to meet Taioseach Bertie Ahern shortly.

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