Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 16:58 UK

Relatives form new victims' group

Raymond McCord
Raymond McCord is to help set up a new victims group

The father of a UVF murder victim is to form a new victims' group along with other relatives of people killed in NI.

Raymond McCord's son, Raymond jnr, 22, was beaten to death in a north Belfast quarry in November 1997.

On Monday, the assembly debated the murder and alleged police collusion with the loyalists responsible.

Mr McCord said the Victims Commission set up by the assembly was a "sham" and a new cross-community group would be established this week.

"We are going to set up our own victims' group.

"We will help people the way they should be helped and not (through) a political agenda," Mr McCord said.

"There is no group here in this country dealing properly with people being intimidated, particularly at interface areas."

Members of the team would include Paul McIlwaine, whose son David, 18, and Andrew Robb, 19, were stabbed in Tandragee, County Armagh, in 2000.

Others are north Belfast priest Fr Aidan Troy and Bernadette O'Rawe, whose nephew, Gerard Devlin, was fatally stabbed in Whitecliffe Parade in west Belfast in February 2006.

Mr McCord said he intends to apply for grant funding for the group.

The executive has twice postponed an assembly debate on the establishment of the official four-member Victims Commission.

The dispute surrounds unionist demands for a chief commissioner, which Sinn Féin opposes, wrangling over the decision-making process and concerns about appointing staff with paramilitary backgrounds.

UVF gang

Raymond McCord jnr's murder was one of a series blamed last year by ex-Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan on a UVF gang given immunity as Special Branch informers.

The SDLP motion that was debated "applauded the work of the McCord family's campaign for justice".

The family of murdered south Armagh man Paul Quinn attended the debate.

Paul Quinn, 21, from Cullyhanna, died last October after being attacked and beaten at a shed near Castleblayney in County Monaghan.

His family blame members of the IRA and say he had defied an order to leave the country. Sinn Féin has denied any republican involvement in the murder.

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01 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland
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22 Jan 07 |  Northern Ireland
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