King Charles urged not to give Northern Ireland Legacy Bill royal assent by father of man murdered by the UVF

Posted By: August 14, 2023


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

King Charles urged not to give Northern Ireland Legacy Bill royal assent by father of man murdered by the UVF

Raymond McCord’s son was killed in 1997 with a report later linking his death to collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the security services

By Douglas Dickie Content editor. Scottish Daily Express. August 11, 2023.


King Charles has been urged not to give the Northern Ireland Legacy Bill royal assent by an Ulsterman whose son was murdered by the UVF. The UK Government is pushing on with the legislation, which will put an end to court cases and inquests relating to the Troubles.

It would also offer a conditional amnesty to those accused of killings, a move that has been criticized by the families of victims. More than 3,500 people died between the late 1960s and 1998 in the conflict, the majority of whom were civilians.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said the Bill will “address the legacy of the past” and help families gain more information about the killing of their loved ones. Among those opposed to the Bill is campaigner Raymond McCord.

His son, also Raymond, was arrested in 1997 after allegedly being found with a haul of cannabis and was beaten to death with concrete slabs at the age of 22 by the UVF who feared he could inform the police on the involvement of a commander in the drug trade.

An earlier version of this story suggested Raymond McCord was a member of the UVF who had been involved in drug running. We’d like to point out Mr. McCord was not a member of the UVF and was never convicted of a drug offense. We are happy to set the record straight.

A report by the police ombudsman, ordered after a campaign by Mr. McCord, later concluded there had been collusion between the UVF and the security services of the RUC in over a dozen murders in Belfast. Mr. McCord, 69, who has stood unsuccessfully for Westminster in the past and once addressed the Sinn Fein party conference wearing his father’s Orange Order sash, now wants the monarch to prevent the Bill from passing.

In a letter to the King, he said it was “lies” to suggest the Bill will “give victims answers and bring reconciliation by giving murderers/war criminals an amnesty”. He also described it as “a complete travesty with the total removal of the human rights of the victims and their families.”

Mr. McCord, who wants a meeting with the head-of-state, went on: “As a British citizen who has battled all my adult life against sectarianism and the loyalist paramilitaries in my unionist community, I’m asking you, or should I say I’m demanding, that you as King refuse to sign royal assent to this Bill if it’s passed in Parliament. Your duty is to your citizens from all faiths and colors, not to a government that lies to you of what this Bill is about in word and statute.”

Defending the Bill before Westminster broke for the summer, Mr. Heaton-Harris said: “The Bill contains finely balanced political and moral choices that are uncomfortable for many, but we should be honest about what we can realistically deliver for people in Northern Ireland, in circumstances where the prospects of achieving justice in the traditional sense are so vanishingly small. The Bill seeks to deliver an approach that focuses on what can practically be achieved to deliver better outcomes for all those who suffered, including those who served, and it aims to help society look forward together to a more shared future.”

The Bill was passed at the third stage in the Commons on July 18. As well as the impact on victims’ families, concerns have also been raised about its impact on the Good Friday Agreement and human rights laws.