19 May 2006

Relatives of UVF victim in fight for justice

Belfast Telegraph

19 May 2006

The family of an innocent victim of last summer's loyalist feud has called on Northern Ireland's politicians to throw support behind a campaign to bring the young man's killers to justice.

Nicola McIlvenny, whose 20-year-old cousin Craig McCausland was shot dead by the UVF last July, said she needed political help in asking whether the terror group "is operating with the absolute impunity it seems to have".

The young father's family met with Tory MP David Lidington, the shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on Monday in a bid to have the murder raised in the House of Commons.

"Mr Lidington said he was willing to raise the wider issue of the UVF's apparent ceasefire in the House to help us out," Ms McIlvenny said.

"Ideally what we want is Craig's killers to be brought before the courts and punished for what they have done. It's almost a year since he was killed and we feel that we're at a standstill.

"But we also need help in raising the wider issue of loyalist murders. We are calling for all politicians and influential people in Northern Ireland to help raise this issue and join our fight for justice."

The family launched the Justice for Craig campaign last year in the wake of the horrific murder. Craig was gunned down by the UVF on July 11 in his north Belfast home in front of his partner and her two young children. He left behind his own son Dean, then aged just two.

He was one of four men shot dead by the UVF last summer. His murder was thought to be a case of mistaken identity and police quickly confirmed that he had no paramilitary connections whatsoever.

Craig's mother Lorraine was viciously attacked by the UDA 18 years earlier and then beaten to death with a breeze block.

Ms McIlvenny continued: "Lorraine was just 23 when she was murdered. We thought that murder could never visit our family again. Craig was just 20 and he left behind a son the same age as he was when his mother was killed.

"No-one has been brought to justice for either murder. When is it going to stop? A line has to be drawn somewhere. Someone has to be held accountable for the numerous murders the UVF has been responsible for since 1994. It looks to me like they are operating with absolute impunity."

Ms McIlvenny said the full grief of losing Craig was only beginning to hit his family now.

"I think we've had a delayed reaction and it's really only hitting home now."

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