Posted By: April 20, 2020

                                                                 McIVOR   FARRELL SOLICITORS LTD

         s o l i c i t o r s ,   a  d  v  o  c  a  t e s,  m  e  d  i  a  t  o  r s


Paul Farrell, Esq., Mclvor Farrell Attorneys

129 Springfield  Road,  Belfast,  BT12 7AE. Northern Ireland

Telephone: 028 9032 4565. Fax: 028 9023 0721



Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to you in relation to the murder of Raymond McCord, Jr., who was brutally beaten to death in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on November 9, 1997.

I act on behalf of Raymond’s father, Raymond Sr., who, since then, has campaigned tirelessly to uncover the circumstances surrounding the death of his son which has led him to uncover a web of collusion between Loyalist (Protestant/ Unionist) paramilitaries from the Ulster Volunteer Force and  the Royal  Ulster  Constabulary (the Northern Irish Police Force at the time).

In order to contextualize Mr. McCord’s case, it has always been his belief that the police were ambivalent and lackluster in their investigation of his son’s murder from the start. It was Mr. McCord’s firm view from the beginning that those responsible for his son’s death were being protected from prosecution by the police and were acting as “Agents of the State” with impunity. It is Mr. McCord s belief that those responsible had  also carried  out other criminal atrocities,  including  blatantly sectarian murders of Catholics in Belfast.

After a prolonged period of inactivity in relation to his son’s murder investigation,  Mr. McCord made a formal complaint to the new offices of the Police Ombudsman    in Northern Ireland in 2002. The Ombudsman’s Office came into being as a result of the transformation of policing in Northern Ireland following the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in 1998. Prior to that, complaints against police were dealt with by police internally. There was a general lack of public confidence in the previous system since there was no external oversight to the investigation of complaints hence the establishment of  a completely independent, authoritative  Ombudsman complaints-handling body as part of our post conflict-peace building measures in Northern Ireland.

The Police Ombudsman’s Office investigated Mr. McCord, Jr.’s case over some five years, and its findings were nothing short of horrific. The Report concluded that not only had our Police Force colluded with those responsible for Raymond McCord, Jr.’s murder, but some were also “in the pay” of the State, receiving payments of up  to £80,000 (British pounds sterling) at the same time they were continuing to kill innocent Catholics on the streets of Belfast. The Report presents a picture of loyalist paramilitaries acting out of control with immunity from prosecution. (Operation Ballast: investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Raymond McCord, Jr. Nuala O’Loan. January 22, 2007.

https:/   / Historical-Reports/Operation-Ballast-investigation-into-the-circumsta).

Significantly, there have been no criminal prosecutions of any of the Loyalist paramilitaries or those police officers who colluded with them in Raymond McCord, Jr.’s death. Consequently, Mr. McCord Sr. relies now on our Inquest System in order to publicly unearth the circumstances leading to and following after his son’s brutal murder.

It is worth noting at this juncture the personal danger that Mr McCord has placed himself in from Loyalist Paramilitaries as a result of his determined effort to unearth the truth of the murky relationship between them and the RUC (Northern Irish  Police Force at the time of Raymond’s death) .During the 22-year wait for the completion of a criminal investigation and Inquest the same paramilitary organization that murdered Raymond  McCord, Jr. has made many attempts  to murder Raymond  McCord, Sr. to stop his quest for truth and justice.

In June 2001, a Preliminary Hearing was convened for Raymond McCord Jr.’s Inquest. The Inquest has been adjourned on various dates since then in order to accommodate the Police and Ombudsman’s investigations which are now   complete.

You may be aware that with regard to the circumstances of young Raymond’s death, our Inquest system allows for a much broader approach where the State has been involved. These type of Inquests are to be compliant with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK Government has obligations to assist the Inquest and to ensure that it is held promptly. (In a nutshell, an Article 2 Inquest involves a death where the State is implicated or had a duty of care to prevent. A normal inquest simply requires the Coroner to return a cause of death whereas an Article 2 covers the broader circumstances that led to the death. An Article 2 compliant Inquest must allow for an effective investigation into  those  circumstances).

In Raymond McCord Jr’s case it has been accepted that the Inquest falls within the scope of Article 2. In those circumstances the ongoing delay is causing concern to us. The Coroner has a duty to ensure a thorough investigation but to date has been frustrated like ourselves by the lack of disclosable material provided by Police.

Mr. McCord is keen to proceed with his son’s Inquest but, unfortunately, as matters stand, after 22 years, we have yet to receive a “listing date. ”It was anticipated that following the Ombudsman’s complaint and prosecution review, all relevant papers concerning young Raymond’s death could be considered for disclosure to us, so that we would have ample time to review them in order to prepare for the Inquest. This Inquest is likely to be the most significant Inquest concerning Police Collusion with Protestant  paramilitaries in  Northern Ireland.

It came as somewhat of a surprise, therefore, that the State’s Solicitors recently advised us that they have not even considered how to conduct the disclosure exercise. This is unacceptable, and Mr. McCord seeks American assistance in order to move matters forward expeditiously and to avoid any further delay in the provision of disclosable material at this time. Surely, this suffering father and his family have waited long enough.

Furthermore, because of our litigated efforts to have the McCord Inquest held the Courts have regarded it as having a significant bearing on how other murder cases proceed. This is therefore the key Inquest case for many bereaved families but to  date Police have failed to provide a scintilla of material to us or for that matter the Coroner.

Since it took over five years to complete the Ombudsman’s Investigation, the volume of documented police material, which has to be disclosed to us, will mean the  Inquest will likely be complex.

As Mr. McCord, Sr.’s attorney for over 27 years I have witnessed Mr. McCord’s gritty determination to uncover the circumstances of his son’s murder. I do not want to be in a position where the Inquest will be further delayed pending disclosures. At a previous Preliminary Hearing to the Inquest, a Senior Judge, Lord Justice Weir, was not resistant to our submission that “what could  be disclosed, should  be disclosed,”   but to date, nothing has been received. I am of the view that there should be phased disclosures in the McCord Inquest well in advance of the actual Inquest itself.

I therefore write to you in order to try to bring finality to Mr. McCord, Sr.’s quest for justice and to seek assistance in convincing the UK authorities to address the issue of the outstanding disclosure of materials relevant to the circumstances and aftermath of Raymond McCord, Jr.’s death so that the Inquest can move forward without further delay.

The UK government accepted the collusion findings of the Ombudsman’s Report when it was published in 2007. We are led to believe a full criminal investigation has completed. We are now over 22 years from the untimely death of Raymond McCord, his father’s resolve has not diminished but his personal health has. It is nothing short of inhumane for the UK Government and Northern Irish Police Service to allow any further delay. I can see no reason as to why documents cannot be disclosed to us at this time in a phased manner other than the enduring reluctance of the British government and police to do so.

I am very grateful for your time in considering this correspondence. If I can assist you with regard to any further background information, please contact Fr. Sean McManus of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus: PO BOX 15128.Washington, DC. 20003-0849 ( 202-544-0568). Fr. McManus has worked for many years very closely with Mr. McCord, Sr. to bring young Raymond’s cause and case to Washington, the U.S. Congress, American

Labor, and Irish-Americans. And, I may add, it’s inspiring to all in Ireland, North and South, to see a Catholic priest and a Belfast Protestant Unionist working together in solidarity for justice and peace.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Farrell LL.b