Troubles Legacy Bill is a murderers’ charter

Posted By: August 16, 2023

                                                                                                                                      Fr. McManus and Raymond McCord. Congressional office. 2009.

“Another article in Scottish Daily Express on the unstoppable Raymond McCord in his struggle for justice.”—Fr. Sean McManus.

Father of man beaten to death by UVF mob says Troubles Legacy Bill is a murderers’ charter.

Raymond McCord, Sr. said hundreds of unsolved killings in Northern Ireland during the Troubles were carried out by paid informants, who were never punished due to their inside knowledge – and who may now be given an amnesty.

Ben Borland. Scottish Daily Express. Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A man whose son was brutally murdered by a loyalist drugs gang has said people in Scotland deserve to know the truth about the Northern Ireland Troubles Legacy and Reconciliation Bill.

The controversial UK Government legislation will offer an amnesty to anyone who was involved in violent incidents before 1998 in return for their cooperation on cases. This could include meeting their victims’ families to give them “answers” about how their loved ones died.

Speaking to the Scottish Daily Express, Raymond McCord Sr, said the Bill was often framed as a way of protecting ex-servicemen against vexatious historic prosecutions. But he claimed the real purpose was to cover up the British state’s involvement in hundreds of killings.

He said: “The British government and the security agencies are frightened of the truth. The state was involved in many, many murders and this is what they are frightened of…. the last thing they want is for their hand in hundreds of murders to be revealed.”

Around 3,600 people were murdered during the Troubles and around 2,000 of those are still unsolved. “I’ve seen evidence to show that 1,700 of those unsolved murders involved paid informants,” Mr. McCord said.

One of those was the murder of his son, ex-RAF serviceman Raymond McCord, Jr., 22, who was beaten to death by a UVF mob in 1997. It has been reported that all those involved were paid informants.

Mr. McCord – who is from the loyalist community in Northern Ireland – said: “Working as an informant was not a get out of jail free card, it was “a don’t go to jail in the first place card. I’ve spoken to a policeman who had a serial murderer in his car and he couldn’t take him to jail because he was told ‘that man knows too much.”

“People on the mainland have been given the wrong end of the stick about this Bill. Imagine if you took all the unsolved murders in Scotland or London over the past 50 years and told the families they aren’t going to be investigated. If anybody can tell me that’s justice then I’d like to hear it.

“They say the process isn’t working, the justice system isn’t working, but that’s because the government, the security agencies, won’t let it work. [Veterans minister] Johnny Mercer and others say giving an amnesty to murder will help the families move on and help them get answers. We’ve got answers, we know who is responsible.

“Our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grans, sisters and brothers have been murdered but instead of a court and a judge and a jury to decide guilt or innocence, that decision is being taken by politicians.”

Mr. McCord is part of a campaign group who all lost loved ones through republican, loyalist and British Army violence during the Troubles. Their stories have been told in a film that will be shown at Westminster next month when peers and MPs debate the next stage of the Bill.

He said: “Every party in Ireland on both sides of the border has rejected this, every family member has rejected this, every victims’ group has rejected it. The Labor Party has rejected it, and the SNP has rejected it, but the British government intends to reward mass murderers with an amnesty and punish the victims and their families for one reason—to hide the truth of state-sponsored murders.

A UK Government spokesman said: “In order to deliver greater information, accountability, and acknowledgment to victims and families affected by the Troubles, we must do things differently.

“The legislation provides a framework that will enable the Independent Commission for Reconciliation & Information Recovery (ICRIR) established by the Bill to deliver effective legacy mechanisms while complying with our international obligations.

“While the Bill makes provision for the grant of immunity from prosecution for individuals in exchange for an account that is true to the best of their knowledge and belief, it also ensures that those who decline to assist in the provision of information can be prosecuted in the usual way.”