Cork man bitter no-one tried for 9/11 attack that killed sister

A Cork man, whose sister and niece were killed in the 9/11 attacks, has said he is “bitterly frustrated” that five suspects, who were captured a decade ago, have still not been tried.

Mark Clifford said the seemingly endless administrative hurdles and legal complications, which have prevented the case going to trial in Guantanamo Bay, have made life unbearable for the families of the 3,000 victims of the atrocity.

Mark’s sister, Ruth McCourt, and her four-year-old daughter, Juliana, were passengers aboard the United Airlines flight that was the second aircraft to crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, 14 years ago today.

Mark had been told just hours earlier that his older, US-based brother, Ron, had narrowly survived the disaster, when a ball of flaming wreckage fell on the building plaza in front of him.

Later today, for the anniversary, Mark will meet up with family members to remember his beloved sister and niece.

But he said the grief was still raw, not least because of the ongoing failure to bring those responsible to justice.

He said: “We can only move on from this once justice is fully administered in the courts.

“Like the families of the other victims, we are very ordinary people who’ve been caught up in a horrific, world-changing event. The one common frustration we still all share is the lack of closure, something we’ve now waited 14 years for.

“For me, personally, I’m still living with the nightmare that my sister and niece were murdered and it’s particularly hard at this time of year.

“Every time I see the TV footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, I’m forced to relive the horror that Ruth and Juliana must have gone through. I miss them both dearly.

“Juliana would be 18 now and probably at college, with her whole life ahead of her.”

Mark, 55, said he has frequently sought to comprehend what motivated the people behind the bombings, but he concedes he will always be at a loss to understand why it happened.

He added: “What happened it still so horrific, so incomprehensible and even surreal. I’ve tried, over the years to get my head around what would drive someone to do something so horrific. I doubt I’ll ever find the answer to that.”

Meanwhile, with the legal system at a standstill in Guantanamo Bay, a trial is still nowhere in sight for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four accused 9/11 plotters.

By way of contrast, a civilian court recently tried, convicted and sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon bombers, two years after the 2013 attack.

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