Hate posters will not stop me, says victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord at his son’s graveside
Victims campaigner Raymond McCord has said he “won’t be intimidated” by loyalist paramilitaries after chilling posters of him were erected across the province recently.
Posters depicting McCord’s face along with former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan appeared in Glengormley, Duncairn Gardens in north Belfast, the Shankill Road, as well as Newtownards and Ballymena.
The glossy-style posters had “Raymond McCord’s son; was he involved in activities?” emblazoned across them in what has been described as a “smear campaign” by Mr McCord, whose son Raymond Jr was murdered by the UVF in 1997.
In January 2007 Mrs O’Loan published the results of an investigation into collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Volunteer Force in relation to the murder of Mr McCord’s son.
Mr McCord has received numerous threats from the terror group for his relentless campaigning for victims.
He said of the poster campaign: “These people are trying to blacken Raymond’s name and my name.
“In all the years of the Troubles, posters were never put up in this way threatening republicans or drug dealers.
“But yet they put me up, someone with no criminal record and who is involved with a cross-community victims’ group.”
Mr McCord is director of the Help NI group, which aims to mediate between targeted individuals and terror groups across Northern Ireland.
Help, which is being supported in its actions by the Community Relations Council, has a litany of objectives which include addressing victims’ needs in relation to justice, truth, legal aid, financial aid and mental health.
“This latest threat against me is a because of the damage I’ve done to their organisation,” added Mr McCord.
“People involved in loyalism have been asking, who has been paying for these posters? They are big posters and obviously cost a bit.
“The UVF leadership are spending money to try to intimidate me. They will not succeed.
“These people are thugs. The UVF has murdered 29 Protestants since the 1994 ceasefire, one of them being my son. I’m not going to let them forget that.”
PUP leader Brian Ervine said the campaign was “stupid” and accepted that elements of the UVF were behind it. “As far as I’m concerned, this was ill-judged, stupid and counter-productive. I condemn it. It should never have happened and I would call on those behind it to bring it to an end.”