My Washington Visit, February 2020                                    

Posted By: February 22, 2020


By Raymond McCord, Sr.


Once again, I must thank the Irish Echo for highlighting British state collusion in the murder of my son, Raymond, Jr.—on the occasion of my visit to Capitol Hill during the week of Sunday, February 9 to Sunday, February 16, 2020.

This was the third time that the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus has sponsored my visit to lobby Members of Congress on my son’s case. I am deeply grateful to Fr. Sean McManus, who has shown such heart-warming and encouraging solidarity to me. Unionist/Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland have ignored my son’s murder and refuse to accept the proven collusion by the state agencies, even though the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Secretary of state for Northern Ireland Peter Hain, and the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland Police Service accepted there was collusion. However, a well-known Fermanagh-born Catholic priest on Capitol Hill decided a long time ago to help this Belfast Protestant father. That is ecumenism and non-sectarianism in action, and it is admired by those who believe in truth and justice. It is most certainly believed by those in the U.S. Congress, as was evident when Fr. McManus and Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President, Irish National Caucus, escorted me around Congress.

My son was a  22-year old Protestant,  brutally murdered by “Protestant” paramilitaries near Belfast in 1997. Because some of those who ordered and participated in the murder were police informers and British agents, the murder was covered-up as it is has been every single day since then because the British government and its agencies obstruct and delay my every attempt to achieve justice.
Why would our  British government and its intelligence agencies, and our police force go to such extraordinary lengths, and for so long, to block my quest for justice? For me, there is one answer: who and where the murder leads to, the British intelligence and security agencies alongside the British Establishment. That’s what really scares the British government—exposing those controlling the killers.

In 2002, the Police Ombudsman’s Office investigated my son’s murder and issued its Report in  2007 (Operation Ballast: investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Raymond McCord, Jr. Nuala O’Loan. January 22, 2007.

Among other horrific and shocking things, the Report concluded that not only had our police force colluded with those responsible for my son’s murder, but some of them 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 and Protestants on the streets of Belfast.

Even after 22 years, I still have not been granted an Inquest into my son’s murder. In June 2001, a Preliminary Hearing was convened for my son’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. Due to the circumstances of young Raymond’s death, the British/Northern Ireland inquest system allows for a much broader approach where the State has been involved, under Article 2 of our European Convention on Human Rights. The UK government has an obligation to assist in the Inquest and to ensure that it is held promptly. An Article 2 Inquest basically involves a death where the State is implicated. 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 and the inquest must be an effective investigation into those circumstances.

I have been waiting to proceed to Inquest but, outrageously, 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 a real shock, therefore, that the State’s Solicitors recently advised us that they have not even considered how to conduct the disclosure exercise.

Furthermore, because of our legal attempts to stop the constant blocking of the Inquest, the Courts have now determined how and when other murder cases can go forward. This, therefore, is the key Inquest case for many bereaved families as the courts have decided to stay many other cases pending the outcome of my son’s case. The High Court Judge in the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast effectively can do nothing to progress Raymond, Jr.’s case because her hands are tied due to the police’s total failure to provide one syllable, paragraph or document relating to Raymond, Jr.’s murder or investigation.

Because 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. We 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.

And that is why the Irish National Caucus brought me back to Capitol Hill: to seek American
help in convincing the British government and its agencies to stop obstructing my right to an Inquest. I am most grateful to those whom the Caucus brought me to meet—in particular Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee, the U.S.  Helsinki Commission, Congressman Thomas Ouzzi (D-NY) and the famous American Labor leader, President Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO.