Wednesday 22 November 2017

Irish 9/11 family's anger over ongoing trial delays

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

AN Irishman, whose sister and niece were killed in the 9/11 attacks, has told of his anger that five detained suspects have still not been brought to trial.

Members of the Clifford family will not travel to the US this week for the 10th anniversary of the attacks -- but will instead stage a private memorial in their native Cork.

Mark Clifford (51) has spoken of his anger that the five suspects -- who are being held in Guantanamo Bay -- have still not been brought to trial.

His sister Ruth Clifford McCourt (45) and her daughter Juliana (4) were killed when their plane was hijacked and flown into the south tower of the World Trade Centre.

Ms Clifford McCourt had been taking Juliana on a surprise trip to Disneyland.

In an incredible coincidence, her brother Ronnie was on the concourse below the Manhattan skyscraper going to a business meeting and was almost killed himself by burning fuel and falling debris.

Ronnie was later hailed as one of the heroes of September 11 for helping to drag a badly injured woman to shelter.

He will fly back to Ireland from New Jersey next week to commemorate the dead alongside his brothers Mark and John, and extended family members.

But Mark admitted the brothers fear they will not see justice administered, because of what he describes as "bureaucratic red tape".

Defence teams are involved in lengthy legal arguments on whether this should be a death penalty case.

Mark says the delays are making life unbearable for the families of the 3,000 victims.

"The grief hasn't gone away and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened. But I'm in constant contact with other families who lost loved ones and we all desperately need a resolution."

His brother Ronnie said: "I am hoping Mr Obama moves forward and tries the people in Guantanamo Bay. That will bring closure for a lot of the families."

Mark confirmed that the family would not travel to New York for the formal anniversary ceremony -- but will instead commemorate Ruth and Juliana in Cork where they are buried.

The Cliffords will spend the day of the anniversary at the graveside of their sister and niece at St Finbarr's Cemetery in Cork.

The brothers will unveil a new three-tiered gravestone, with a birdbath, butterflies and daffodils sculpted on, to mark the 10th anniversary.

Mark said: "They are all things that Juliana loved, so it will be a special way to help us celebrate their lives."

Mark and Ronnie have agreed to do a rare television interview with Ryan Tubridy on Friday's 'Late Late Show'.

MISSED CHANCE TO gET OSAMA: PAGE 28

Irish Independent

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