25 May 2006

Father of UVF victim calls for arrests

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

The father of a loyalist murder victim last night called on Hugh Orde to arrest four Special Branch informers involved in a series of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) murders in north Belfast.
Raymond McCord was speaking after retired CID detective Trevor McIlwrath told the BBC’s Spotlight programme he was blocked in his attempts to arrest the men.
Last year Mr McIlwrath’s former CID partner, Jonty Brown, made the same claim.
Over the past 12 months, Daily Ireland has revealed a series of murders and attempted murders the informers were involved in, but never prosecuted for.
These include the murders of Sharon McKenna, Sean McParland, Tommy Sheppard, Rev David Templeton and Raymond McCord Jnr, two attempts on the life of John Flynn and an explosion outside a Sinn Féin office in Monaghan town.
The most senior informer in the gang, codenamed ‘Helen’ was the leader of the UVF in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast during the 1990s.
He is currently facing charges of attempted murder.
The second agent, a Catholic who fled Ireland in 1997 after his cover was blown, was responsible for looking after UVF weapons in Mount Vernon.
Codenamed ‘Mechanic’ he helped plant the bomb outside the Monaghan Sinn Féin office.
The third paramilitary informer, who works for a taxi-firm on the outskirts of Belfast, drove the getaway car in the Sharon McKenna murder and John Flynn attempted murders.
The fourth informer has fallen foul of his former UVF colleagues, although he has yet to be outed as a Special Branch and CID agent.
He was part of the loyalist gang that beat Raymond McCord Jnr to death in a north Belfast quarry in November 1997.
Raymond McCord Snr has called for the four to be arrested following Trevor McIlwrath’s admissions.
He said: “Hugh Orde should arrest these men.
“He knows full well who they are and what crimes they have been involved in.”
The three Special Branch officers central to protecting the murderous informers have retired from the PSNI.
Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan, who is investigating whether the gang was given a license to kill, has no power to question these former detectives.

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