RFJ provides information to US Envoy Richard Haass

Press Release – 17th January 2002

from Mark Thompson, Director Relatives for Justice, following RFJ visit
to the US Consulate to provide information to US Special Envoy, Richard
Haass, to the North of Ireland.

Mr. Haass met political leaders and the members of the new Policing
Board during his visit in a current drive to consolidate the peace

Mr. Haass also described the single biggest threat to peace as being
‘Loyalist violence’. This came in the wake of UDA murder of Catholic
postal worker and father, Daniel McColgan, in North Belfast last
weekend and the ongoing loyalist attacks throughout North Belfast. Last
year alone loyalists were involved in hundreds of attacks including
pipe bombings and shootings. Attacks continue almost daily.
Additionally loyalists have also threatened Catholic schoolteachers and
workers. This comes against the backdrop of the loyalist hostilities
against young Catholic girls attending the Holy Cross Primary School in
North Belfast.

Mr. Thompson said: ‘We feel that it is vitally important that Richard
Haass in his role as Special Envoy to the North should be as fully
informed as possible on the issues facing us at this point in time,
particularly concerning those most directly affected by the conflict.

It is in this context that we presented today’s information to the US
Consulate Office for his attention. The information we detailed to Mr.
Haas dealt with human rights, policing, and plastic bullets, which we
strongly believe, have yet to be resolved under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement.

Mr. Haas was also provided with detailed information concerning a
number of loyalist killings where there exists clear and irrefutable
evidence of state collusion, the role of Special Branch and the Force
Research Unit (FRU), as well as being informed about state killings and
the recent European Court ruling.

We hope to meet Mr. Haas’s assistant who is remaining in the North over the next few days.’