Northern Ireland news

Raymond McCord calls for a boycott of `Time for Truth' march

Raymond McCord whose son was killed by loyalists more than 21 years ago. Picture by Hugh Russell

VICTIMS campaigner Raymond McCord has criticised the 'Time for Truth' campaign for excluding unionist victims from a forthcoming march.

The march in Belfast on June 9 seeks to highlight the "continued intransigence of the British state" on dealing with the legacy of the past.

It follows the first demonstration of the campaign in February 2018, which saw more than 7,000 people take to the streets.

Ciarán MacAirt, whose grandmother Kitty Irvine was one of 15 people killed in the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing, last night said victims and survivors should be free to adopt their own approach and that the protest is open to all.

Mr McCord, whose son was killed by loyalists more than 21 years ago, accused organisers of "betraying all victims" by "cherry picking" those invited to the march.

He said 1,700 "nationalist and unionist" victims' families of the IRA and unionists whose family members were murdered by the UVF/UDA "will have no voice".

"Victims events should and must be completely cross-community and fully inclusive of all victims," he said.

"However, the next Time for Truth march on June 9 in Belfast has excluded unionist victims voices. Not one unionist victim whether they are victims of the security forces or republican terrorists has been invited to speak.

"The organisers have made this into a no go event for unionists and also nationalist victims of the IRA. Why are they so frightened of hearing victims of republican murder gangs?

"I would never attend an event where the victims are only unionist.

"When are the organisers going to realise that we are all in this together as victims and leave the politics and religion out of it?"

He said his son "was murdered by the UVF in collusion with the Special Branch" and he has "supported many of those who are calling for the truth".

Mr McCord called for "victims, the general public and politicians" to boycott the event if organisers refuse to have "a shared platform".

Mr MacAirt however said the planned march is open to everybody.

“All Time for Truth Campaign protests and demonstrations are open to the general public to attend, irrespective of their political persuasion,” he said.

“A single, legitimate narrative of our conflict does not exist despite British Government attempts to impose their narrative upon us.

“We believe that all narratives regarding the conflict are legitimate and should be respected and considered.”

The Time for Truth protest will take place in Belfast on Sunday June 9.

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