Raymond McCord, 53, the father of a Belfast man murdered by Loyalist paramilitaries in 1997 took his campaign to bring his son’s killers to justice to Capitol Hill last Thursday. McCord, a staunch Unionist, told a House of Representatives subcommittee he believes there was collusion between the Northern Irish security forces and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the killing of his son.
“For the first time a Protestant testified on collusion in Northern Ireland,” Father Sean McManus of the Washington based Irish American Caucus told the Irish Voice. “That’s a very compelling narrative. For 37 years I have been pestering members of Congress about collusion against Catholics in Northern Ireland. And then I bring a Protestant along and introduce him to the committee members and they were all deeply affected by that.”
McCord alleged that a leading Loyalist, who is said to have worked as an informer for the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s (RUC) Special Branch during the Troubles, ordered the killing of Raymond McCord Junior. Since 1997 McCord has demanded to know why the authorities have charged no one with the murder of his son.
During the hearing McCord presented his case very powerfully, McManus added. “The British can no longer say, well, consider the source, because McManus is doing all this for Catholics, and it’s all propaganda.”
In his testimony McCord claimed, “The British government and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have blocked and stonewalled me. They have colluded and are still colluding with the killers of my son and many other victims.”
“McCord testified with devastating effect,” added McManus. “I don’t think Congress will ever see Northern Ireland in the same light again. And I doubt if they will ever see the British government in the same light again.”
On Friday the PSNI press office in Northern Ireland announced they had no statement to make on McCord’s testimony. The main Unionist parties in the North have also been reluctant to address McCord’s persistent requests.
After the hearing, McCord told the press, “It’s imperative that pressure is put on the British government, when they are trying to sweep this under the carpet.”
He added that he was happy with how his testimony had been received. “The members gave me a lot of confidence in the way they spoke,” he said.
McManus added that Democratic Congressman Richie Neal would send a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking him to meet McCord. Neal had committed to asking his fellow members of Congress to co-sign the letter, McManus said.
Added McManus, “I think McCord has succeeded in bringing his case into the very heart of the U.S. Congress despite intimidation, despite cover up, despite 24 hour, 7 days a week death threats. A letter will circulate now encouraging the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to meet with Raymond. No British Prime Minister ever has before. In time there will be a Congressional resolution hopefully. There will be a steady build up. McCord himself is one of the bravest men I’ve ever met and he has an absolute determination to get justice. The man will just not quit.”