15 February 2006

Loyalist murder victim's father to meet Ahern


14/02/2006 - 18:28:00

The father of a loyalist murder victim is to hold talks with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, he said tonight.

Raymond McCord revealed a meeting has been set up as part of a widening campaign for justice over the Ulster Volunteer Force killing of his son, Raymond Jr.

He will travel to Dublin on Friday to finalise arrangements with Irish officials.

Mr McCord, who has been fiercely critical of the support offered from nearly all political parties in Northern, was angered at having to cross the border.

He said: “I’m a Protestant from a unionist community, yet I’m having to go to Dublin, to a foreign country, to get justice for young Raymond.

“I want Mr Ahern to help me, because I’m not getting any help up here.”

Mr McCord claims a UVF man involved in the murder has been protected because he is a police special branch agent.

His son, a 22-year-old former RAF operator, was beaten to death and dumped in a north Belfast quarry in 1997.

Nuala O’Loan, the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, is due to report on her investigation into the allegations later this year.

Mr McCord claimed he turned to politicians in the Republic, including Irish Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte, after being let down by his own representatives.

Only Mark Durkan of the SDLP has provided real support by taking him to meet Secretary of State Peter Hain, he said.

Most of his scorn was directed at the Democratic Unionists, whose leader Ian Paisley met with the family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane in Belfast on Monday.

“There’s double standards here,” Mr McCord said.

“The DUP use the excuse that they are waiting for Mrs O’Loan’s report before doing more on my case.

“But this is a party that has done nothing but criticise Mrs O’Loan.”

A DUP spokesman tonight declined to comment on Mr McCord’s allegations.

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