Key role for Cork man in 9/11 trial

An Irish survivor of the 9/11 terror attacks, whose sister and niece were on one of the hijacked planes that were flown into the World Trade Center, is set to play a key role once the trial of five suspects gets underway.

Ron Clifford, originally from Cork, witnessed first-hand the devastation of the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks and narrowly survived the disaster when flaming wreckage fell onto the building plaza in front of him.

He later learned that his sister Ruth McCourt and her four-year-old daughter, Juliana, were passengers on board the second aircraft to crash into the Twin Towers.

Ron’s younger brother Mark said his older sibling has still not been able to visit Ground Zero because his memories of that fateful day are still “too raw and upsetting.”

However, Mark said Ron is likely to be called as a witness once the five Gauntanamo Bay-held suspects are tried.

“Ron has been groomed by the FBI in the US for the past two or three years in preparation for the trial,” he said.

“Many people have seen the events on a TV screen, but Ron was one of the people who witnessed first-hand this major event, so he will be involved in the trial.”

Mark, 55, who met up with family members in Cork last Friday to privately commemorate his late sister and niece on the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks, also told of his frustrations that the five suspects — who were captured a decade ago — have still not been brought to trial.


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