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McCord surprised Finucane son standing for Sinn Fein

By David Young

Victims campaigner Raymond McCord last night criticised the decision of John Finucane - son of murdered lawyer Pat Finucane - to stand as a Sinn Fein candidate in the forthcoming General Election.

Mr McCord (63) - whose son was murdered 20 years ago by the UVF - said he was surprised by Mr Finucane's decision to stand for election on a Sinn Fein ticket in North Belfast.

"It came as a major surprise. I know the Finucane family well. I know John personally. I've attended - and spoken at - several events over the years supporting the Finucane family in their quest for justice," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I fully supported the Finucane family in seeking justice for Pat.

"What really got to me was John saying that he took his inspiration from Martin McGuinness.

"But John's talking about a man who was the leader of a terrorist organisation.

"If the current MP, Nigel Dodds, came out and said that he took his inspiration from Lenny Murphy, or Johnny Adair or some loyalist terrorist, I would be absolutely disgusted, and would speak out the same way I'm doing now.

"I deal with victims. I helped as best I could with Loughinisland, Ballymurphy, Bloody Sunday, and McGurk's Bar.

"My question is: is John Finucane going to support the Catholic victims of the IRA?

"Is he going to criticise what happened to Patsy Gillespie in Derry, what happened to Briege Quinn's son down on the border?

"Is he going to call for an inquiry into what happened to them?" Mr McCord asked.

He said that his own relations with Martin McGuinness had always been civil.

"McGuinness treated me well - but that doesn't affect my view of an organisation that murdered thousands of people," Mr McCord said.

"I look forward to seeing John and debating these issues with him.

"If, a few months ago, someone had told me that John Finucane was going to run for Sinn Fein, I would have laughed at the idea."

Last night, Mr Finucane rejected Mr McCord's criticisms, insisting that, for him, there was no "hierarchy of victims".

"I am on the record that my personal and political view is that all victims deserve and are entitled to the truth and justice that I have campaigned for with respect to the murder of my father," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "There is no hierarchy of victims, there are only victims.

"I will continue to represent in a personal, professional and political capacity victims from all sections of the community."

Mr McCord also claimed his concerns for IRA victims had been ignored by Sinn Fein's Stormont leader, Michelle O'Neill.

"Before the last Assembly elections I contacted Michelle O'Neill twice," he claimed. "I congratulated her on her new position, and asked her whether, as a mother, would she help the Quinn family of south Armagh to get justice for her son, who was beaten to death on the border."

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: "Michelle O'Neill has not received the emails referred to by Mr McCord. Sinn Fein has unreservedly condemned the murder of Paul Quinn and the manner in which he lost his life.

"The family of Paul Quinn deserve justice and Sinn Fein reiterates the call for anyone with information on the murder of Paul Quinn to bring it forward to the PSNI or An Garda Siochana."

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