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Victims' campaigner fearing loss of European cash takes Brexit case to top court

Published 28/10/2016

Raymond McCord with his newly issued Irish passport alongside his British passport
Raymond McCord with his newly issued Irish passport alongside his British passport

A victims' campaigner whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries is to take his Brexit legal challenge to the UK's highest court after a judge ruled against him in Northern Ireland.

Raymond McCord Jnr, 22, was a former RAF radar operator who was beaten to death by members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in north Belfast in 1997. He body was dumped in a quarry.

His father opposed Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to call Brexit negotiations with Europe at Belfast's High Court over concerns that European peace money which goes towards victims of the Troubles may be discontinued following an exit.

Mr McCord's lawyers argued unsuccessfully that the people of Northern Ireland could exercise a veto over withdrawal talks using rights enshrined in law at the end of the Troubles.

He said: "Hope is not going away by any means.

"I have seen for nearly 20 years from my son's murder we have gotten knocked down but we have always gotten up again.

"Today is a setback but we will see the judges in London."

He plans to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

"The judge left the door open. In some of the decisions there he actually stated that he believed that it should be going to a higher court in his judgment and it will be going to a higher court - that is London."

He said the only people favouring Brexit were the Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

"I believe what we are doing is correct. We live in a democratic system, 56% of the people of this country voted to remain.

"Again I say, we are right in what we are doing for the people of this country.

"We have seen all the way through the Troubles here and since the Good Friday Agreement, the British Government, whether it is the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, have no interest in victims.

"I believe, like a lot of other victims that if they come out of Europe the Tories will do away with the European Court of Human Rights.

"We will have very little chance then of holding the Government accountable."

The campaigner describes himself as British and European but received an Irish passport on Thursday, one of thousands who have applied for the travel document after the June Brexit vote.

"The Irish passport hopefully will help me if Brexit occurs to take the British Government to court."

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