Belfast Telegraph

Family of Irish 9/11 victims fear they'll not get justice

By Nick Bramhill

An Irish man whose sister and niece were killed in the 9/11 attacks has admitted his hopes of seeing those responsible for the atrocity brought to trial have faded under Donald Trump's presidency.

US prosecutors are seeking a 2019 trial date for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners accused of masterminding the terrorist outrage, which took place 16 years ago today.

But Mark Clifford (57) - who will today join other members of his family in his native Cork to privately celebrate the lives of his sister Ruth McCourt and her four-year-old daughter Juliana - is frustrated that no one has been convicted of the atrocity.

"The past year has been very frustrating - just like all the years since 9/11. No progress has been made in terms of bringing those responsible to justice," he said.

"And, to be honest, I don't hold out much hope of that changing under Trump's presidency. It just doesn't seem to be on Trump's radar and it's not something you really see him tweeting about. I just don't think getting the trial under way is a priority for the US administration.

"There doesn't seem to be the political will there to do anything about it."

Mark said the ongoing impasse over 9/11 has made it impossible for the families of the victims to move on.

He added: "It doesn't get any easier because we remain in a state of limbo. The grief doesn't just disappear, particularly when we haven't yet got closure. And the longer this goes on, the more there'll be family members who unfortunately pass on without seeing justice for their loved-ones. We've unfortunately been in this situation, having lost a number of family members since 9/11."

Along with losing his sister and little niece - who were passengers on the second hijacked aircraft to crash into the Twin Towers in New York - Mark's brother Ron narrowly survived the disaster when a ball of flaming wreckage fell on the plaza in front of him.

A ceremony will be held at Ground Zero today to observe the anniversary by remembering and honouring the 2,983 men, women and children killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, aboard Flight 93, and those who died in the February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing.

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