Belfast Telegraph

Victims of Troubles make plea to Irish Government in fight for justice

A number of relatives of murder victims met politicians in Dublin.

Raymond McCord (Victoria Jones/PA)
Raymond McCord (Victoria Jones/PA)

Victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles have made a direct plea to the Irish Government to support their long campaign for justice.

Bereaved relatives met politicians in Dublin to call for their backing for further truth recovery processes into the deaths of their loved ones.

Campaigners Raymond McCord, Cathy McIlvenny, Michael Monaghan and Billy McManus met representatives from the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement Committee at Leinster House.

Mr McCord’s son Raymond Jnr was beaten to death by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in north Belfast in 1997 and his body left in a quarry.

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Raymond McCord with a portrait of his murdered son Raymond Jnr (Paul Faith/PA)

Mr McCord is pursuing a civil action against the men he believes were involved in planning and murdering his son.

He has asked for committee members to back a demand for a public inquiry into the killing.

“It was a good meeting, we all raised our issues about these cases as they haven’t been dealt with properly,” he said.

“I want them to support a public inquiry and they listened to what I had to say. They understand that more needs to be done.

“We also explained to them that the Irish Government has supported a public inquiry into the murder of (solicitor) Pat Finucane and we have asked for the same treatment.

“There should be no difference made. I’m from the unionist community, we’ve stood up to the British state and took a lot of flak and threats.

“It’s time the Irish Government got behind the unionist victims as well.”

Ms McIlvenny’s young sister was raped and murdered in a Belfast loyalist club.

Lorraine McCausland’s partially clothed body was found beside a stream in north Belfast in March 1987. No one has been charged or convicted.

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Lorraine McCausland (PSNI/PA)

“Collusion was involved in my sister’s murder and my family is getting absolutely nowhere with the investigation,” she said.

“We have no government sitting in Stormont and the British government are closing the doors on us. We are here for support and I feel like we got it during today’s meeting.

“I feel it’s disgraceful to have to come to Dublin, in what is foreign government, to ask for their help when our government doesn’t do a thing.

“We want the Irish state to put pressure on the British government to deal with victims and legacy issues and not put it behind a closed door. Victims need to be listened to.

“What keeps us going are the lies that have been told to us over the years. My dad is dead and will never see justice for his daughter.

“We shouldn’t have to fight every corner of the way, but we will never give up.”

Mr Monaghan’s father-in-law was murdered as he was babysitting his four grandchildren in Belfast in 1994.

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Michael Monaghan (Lesley-Anne McKeown/PA)

Sean McParland was shot dead in front of his young grandchildren after the UVF burst into the house.

Loyalist supergrass Gary Haggarty, who was the gunman, was jailed last year for six and a half years for five murders and more than 500 terror offences.

He was released a few months later due to his co-operation with police over information on other terror suspects.

Mr Monaghan said his family will continue to fight for justice.

“I was (Haggarty’s) first attempted murder case and because I changed my plans that night he shot my father-in-law instead,” Mr Monaghan said.

“My family are left to try and fight for justice. We have been let down many times before but this is not a third-world country, we need justice.

“The TDs and senators listened to us, some had tears in their eyes. We will keep fighting as we need some sort of closure.”

Mr McManus was 22 when his father was one of five people shot dead in Sean Graham’s bookies on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.

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Billy McManus and Tommy Duffin, whose fathers William and Jack were both killed in the Sean Graham shooting (Rebecca Black/PA)

The murders were carried by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF).

Earlier this year, the PSNI said it had failed to reveal “significant information” about the gun attack.

Mr McManus said: “We told them about our concerns of the legacy issues and how we can’t move on with our lives. It puts so much pressure on all of our families.

“We all want this to be dealt with and we want truth and justice.

“The country is suffering and it’s holding us back.

“It’s great to be able to come to Dublin to talk to people in the Dail, and we just hope it opens opportunities for us.”

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