Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Collusion is a major issue for the Assembly

28 April, 2008


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has said that the issue of collusion is a major challenge to these political institutions, in terms of how we respond to the needs of victims and address the issue of the truth.

Speaking in an Assembly debate about the death of Raymond McCord Mr Adams said:

"The issue of collusion between British state forces and unionist death squads is a major challenge to these political institutions, in terms of how we respond to the needs of victims and address the issue of the truth."

Supporting Mr. McCord's demand for an independent international based inquiry into his son's murder, Mr Adams added:

"I have raised his case with the British and Irish governments and earlier this year Raymond spoke at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.

"This is an issue of justice and of truth. This is about families who deserve to have their truth acknowledged and admitted by those who killed their loved ones. Raymond McCord deserves all our thanks for his very significant part in making this possible." ENDS

Text of full speech (check against delivery)

I want to commend the members for putting down this motion.

The issue of collusion between British state forces and unionist death squads is a major challenge to these political institutions, in terms of how we respond to the needs of victims and address the issue of the truth.

It is a challenge to the Irish government, which has to date adopted a less than effective approach in investigating collusion and its affects in the north, and especially within its own jurisdiction.

But it is a particular challenge to the British government and its military and intelligence agencies who established paramilitary organisations, and provided weapons, training, information, as well as facilitating attacks in which many citizens were murdered. Collusion was a matter of administrative and institutionalised practice.

It directly and indirectly impacts on over a 1000 victims and their families.

It led to the deaths of republican activists, including over a score of Sinn Fein members and their families.

And it also led to the murder of unionist citizens by those who claimed to be their defenders. Raymond McCord jnr was one such victim.

I first met his father Raymond in February 2006. His 22 year old son had been murdered by the UVF in November 1997.

Since then Raymond McCord has been running a campaign for justice.

He alleges that at least two members of the UVF gang who were involved in the murder of his son were agents working for the Special Branch, and he has named both men. Mr. McCord has been threatened and intimidated by the UVF and he alleges that he has been harassed by members of the PSNI.

Sinn Féin supports Mr. McCord's demand for an independent international based inquiry into his son's murder. I have raised his case with the British and Irish governments and earlier this year Raymond spoke at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis.

A year after our first meeting, in January 2007, the Police Ombudsman produced a damning report which confirmed Raymond McCord's accusations and went on to expose a depth of collusion which appeared to shock many unionists.

Since then there have been many reports from Amnesty International and others all confirming the use of collusion and state murder by the British in cases ranging from the murder of Pat Finucane, through a series of murders in Tyrone, including Cappagh, and across the island.

There have also been a small number of official reports, like the Stevens report, which have been suppressed.

In the last two years we have had further reports confirming collusion, including one in October 2006 which concluded that at least seventy-six people died as a result of a gang based at Glenanne, in South Armagh, which involved members of the RUC, UDR and MI5 along with Unionist paramilitaries.

Many of these were murdered in the south.

In addition, a subcommittee of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice in Leinster House concluded that these were acts of "international terrorism".

The Barron Inquiry in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings also confirmed the existence of collusion.

Despite the overwhelming evidence the British government has never acknowledged any of this. On the contrary they have employed the full weight of their political influence to deny, to cover-up and suppress the truth.

From the highest to the lowest the judicial and policing apparatus, including the DPP and some judges, connived to ensure that killings were not properly investigated; that many of those known to be involved in killings were not prosecuted or, as in the case of Brian Nelson were offered a deal to prevent all the facts from coming out; that those involved in running these operations within the British system were and still are protected from the legal consequences of their actions; and Public Interest Immunity certificates were used to withhold information at trials and inquests.

And in many cases no inquests have yet been held into many of these murders. The extent of all of this is breath taking. It was an intractable part of the very fabric of the British systems political and counter-insurgency strategy.

In conclusion, and as we await an Ombudsman report on the Loughinisland murders, I would ask our colleagues opposite not to knee-jerk against this motion because it deals with collusion, but to support it.

This is an issue of justice and of truth. This is about families who deserve to have their truth acknowledged and admitted by those who killed their loved ones. Raymond McCord deserves all our thanks for his very significant part in making this possible.

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