by Ciarán Barnes ‘Haddock was able to act with impunity while the
police effectively colluded in his crimes’
– Pat Rabbitte
‘The police knew about
hundreds of murders the UVF was planning before any triggers were pulled’
– Raymond McCord Senior
‘The UVF was deeply
infiltrated by Special Branch for a very long time’
– British Irish Rights Watch director Jane Winter
The alleged Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) killers of a 22-year-old Protestant have been named as Special Branch informers by the leader of the Irish Labour party.
Using parliamentary privilege, Pat Rabbitte yesterday named Mark Haddock and John Bond as the men responsible for the brutal 1997 murder of Raymond McCord Junior.
He also claimed the pair were responsible for trying to bomb a Sinn Féin office in Monaghan town in 1997.
In an astonishing attack on the UVF and its links to Special Branch, Mr Rabbitte said leading Belfast loyalist John ‘Bunter’ Graham was the organisation’s leader.
And he called for an international independent inquiry into collusion between the UVF and security services. Mr Rabbitte said: “The UVF murdered Raymond McCord because he had been summoned by John ‘Bunter’ Graham, the officer commanding the UVF on the Shankill Road, to account for his role in ferrying drugs for Mark Haddock.
“He was murdered to prevent Graham finding out about Haddock’s unsanctioned drugs operations.
“At least two members of the gang who carried out the murder were Special Branch informers. They were Mark Haddock, who ordered the murder, and John Bond, who was present when Raymond McCord was murdered.
“Both these men were also allegedly involved in an attempt to bomb Sinn Féin offices in Monaghan in 1997.”
Mr Rabbitte said he had information Haddock, who is currently facing charges of attempted murder, has been involved in eight murders since his recruitment as a Special Branch informer in 1993.
The murders are that of Sharon McKenna, Gary Convie, Eamon Fox, Rev David Templeton, Billy Harbinson, Tommy English, David Greer and Raymond McCord Junior.
He added: “The central allegation is that Haddock was not charged with any crime because he was an informer who had to be protected.
“He was able to act with impunity, while the police effectively colluded in his crimes.”
Replying to Mr Rabbitte, minister of state at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Noel Treacy, said government had complete confidence in the independence and competence of the Ombudsman’s office in carrying out a rigorous investigation.
He added: “In the context of the sensitive stage that the investigation has reached, any comment on the possible establishment of an independent inquiry into this issue would be premature.”
Mr Rabbitte’s Dáil address has been welcomed by Raymond McCord Senior, whose son Haddock and Bond are accused of murdering.
He said: “This is only the beginning. The UVF has been controlled by the Special Branch since the 1970s.
“The police knew about hundreds of murders the UVF was planning before any triggers were pulled.”
A Police Ombudsman report on the murder of Raymond McCord Junior is to be published next month.
It is expected to recommend prosecutions against six Special Branch officers who ran UVF members in north and west Belfast.
In a report on the McCord murder compiled by human rights group British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), the man who Pat Rabbitte believes is the leader of the UVF, John Graham, is named as a Special Branch informer.
BIRW director Jane Winter, who has investigated dozens of paramilitary killings, is in no doubt the UVF was “deeply infiltrated” by Special Branch for a “very long time”.
“There has been a high-level of collusion for some time,” said Ms Winter.
“I would be very surprised if murders carried out by the UVF since the 1970s were not preventable, or at the very least detectable.”