Wednesday, 12 December 2012

British Government Murder in Irish Times and Space

  • - - Last Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 17:15

British forces 'facilitated' UDA murder of Finucane

A man walks past a mural of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane on the Falls Road in West Belfast today. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/ReutersA man walks past a mural of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane on the Falls Road in West Belfast today. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
There was a significant doubt as to whether Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane would have been murdered by the UDA in February 1989 had it not been for the different strands of involvement by elements of the British state, a review into his death has found.
The 500-page report, by Sir Desmond da Silva QC, says that a series of positive actions by employees of the state "actively furthered and facilitated his murder" and there was a relentless effort to defeat the ends of justice in the aftermath of his killing.
"My review of the evidence relating to Patrick Finucane's case has left me in no doubt that agents of the State were involved in carrying out serious violations of human rights up to and including murder,"  it  says.
Sir Desmond said he did not believe there was an "over-arching state conspiracy" to murder Mr Finucane but that "an extraordinary state of affairs was created" in which both the British army and the RUC special branch had prior notice of a series of planned UDA assassinations, yet nothing was done to prevent the attacks.
The report says there were three UDA conspiracies to murder Mr Finucane that were known to RUC special branch and or MI5. These were in 1981, 1985 and 1988/89 and on none of these occasions was Mr Finucane warned of the threat against his life.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, British prime minister David Cameron said the "shocking levels of collusion" exposed by the report was “unacceptable” and apologised to the Finucane family: “I am deeply sorry," he said.
However, he again ruled out establishing an independent public inquiry.
Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine today dismissed the report a as “a sham... a whitewash... a confidence trick” and renewed her call for a full public inquiry into her husband’s  death. This report is not the truth,” she told a press conference in London.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also renewed his calls for a public inquiry, while Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil this afternoon the Government would press the case for it at every opportunity. Sinn Féin and the SDLP also backed the calls for a full independent inquiry to be held.
Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Matt Baggott said he will discuss the report with the Police Ombudsman and the Public Prosecution Service to see if more people should be held to account for the murder.

Mr Baggott announced in Belfast that he is planning talks with Ombudsman Michael Maguire and Barra McGrory, director of the PPS. “The murder should never have happened. There was a catalogue of failure which needs to be assessed to see if people should be held accountable.”
Sir Desmond found that in December 1988 MI5 received information about a "potentially serious threat to the life" of the solicitor.
"Mr Finucane was murdered by the UDA less than two months afterwards. No steps had been taken to warn him that his life was in danger or to otherwise protect him," he said
"I believe that the responsibility for the failure to act on the December 1988 threat intelligence lies with the Security Service (MI5)," he added.
Mr Finucane (39) was murdered by loyalist gunmen who burst into his home in north Belfast on February 12th 1989 and shot him multiple times as he was having a meal with his children and wife Geraldine, who was wounded in the incident.
He came into the public eye when he acted as solicitor for Bobby Sands and handled the legal affairs of other hunger-strikers in the latter stages of their protest. He also represents the families of three men killed in the so called "shoot to kill" episode in Armagh in 1982 and represented Patrick McGeown, who was accused of helping to organise the March 1988 killing of two army corporals, when criminal charges against him are dropped.
Mr Cameron described Mr Finucane's murder as “an appalling crime”
He said the Finucane family suffered “the most grievous wrongs” and that he respected their view that the de Silva review was not the right response. But he said he disagreed with them, and said a public inquiry might not have uncovered so much information about the killing. Mr Cameron said he hoped that today’s report would contribute to moving the Northern Ireland peace process forward.
Mr Finucane's family arrived at Westminster to read the report shortly after 8am this morning.
{Prior to the released of the report, Mr Finucane's son John, who was eight when his father was murdered, said his family would read the report with an "open mind" but pointed out "our past record does not fill us with hope". But, he added, "if it is a review that puts all our questions to bed then there will be nobody happier than me to move on with our lives."
"This is something which doesn’t just affect my family. It affects a very large section of society in Ireland," he told BBC's Radio 4.
There have been a series of reports and investigations into the circumstances surrounding his death. Retired Metropolitan police chief John Stevens conducted three inquiries into his death and retired Canadian judge Peter Cory also investigated the murder.
The attack on Mr Finucane came shortly after British home office junior minister Douglas Hogg tells MPs that certain solicitors in Northern Ireland are "unduly sympathetic" to terrorist organisations, indicating he meant the IRA.
Sir Desmond said this comment was based on an RUC briefing, which the organisation expected would be put into the public domain, and that Mr Hogg was "compromised" when given the information. He was sure that Mr Hogg's comments did not incite the UDA to murder Mr Finucane. He added "however the evidence does suggest that the UDA considered the ministers comments to be significant."
"I believe that Mr Hogg's comments may have, albeit unwittingly, further increased the vulnerability of defence solicitors, including Patrick Finucane."
He added: "I am satisfied that the manner in which Mr Hogg was briefed by the RUC indicated an attitude or mindset within the RUC at the time which led them to be predisposed against solicitors representing republican paramilitaries, and against Patrick Finucane in particular."
Sir Desmond referred to the RUC special branch agent Ken Barratt, one of the gunmen who murdered Mr Finucane, and how he was recruited in October 1991 even though he had given a qualified admission to the police that he had murdered the solicitor.
"I am sure that the RUC special branch took a conscious decision to recruit Kenneth Barratt as an agent rather than seek to bring him to justice for his role in the murder of Patrick Finucane," the report says.
"That decision was taken at RUC SB superintendent level, though it is possible that knowledge of Barratt's prima-facie 'admission' and recruitment extended further up the RUC hierarchy."
Sir Desmond said he was also satisfied that a tape recording of Barratt's "admission" in October 1991 "was a deliberate act designed to thwart the RUC CID in its efforts to investigate Barratt in connection with the murder".
The report concludes that two agents who were in the pay of the state at the time were involved in the murder of Mr Finucane. These Brian Nelson and William Stobie.
Sir Desmond said he was firmly of the view that the British army's Force Research Unit was not provided with information from Nelson about the plan to murder the solicitor. He added, however, that the FRU must "bear a degree of responsibility for whatever targetting activity Nelson carried out in his dual role as a UDA intelligence officer and a FRU agent" during the period.
In relation to Stobie who was murdered by the UDA in December 2001 after his trail for the murder of Mr Finucane collapsed, Sir Desmond said he was satisfied Stobie provided the 9mm Browning Pistol that the "UDA hit team" used in the killing.
"I do not, however, believe that Stobie knew that the UDA's target was Patrick Finucane," the report says.
"The intelligence provided by William Stobie after the murder of Patrick Finucane could have led to the recovery of the gun likely to have been used in the murder and the arrest of at least one of the key UDA suspects. I am satisfied that the special branch unjustifiably withheld this critical intelligence from the RUC CID."
Sir Desmond did not believe it was "possible to establish with certainty whether officers proposed Patrick Finucane as a target to UDA members" in Castlereagh interrogation centre. "In the absence of any admissions by the individuals directly involved in the interviews it is clearly not possible to establish what happened with certainty," he said.

He did believe, however, based on circumstantial evidence that it was likely "that an RUC officer or officers" did propose Mr Finucane, along with at least one other individual as a target in Castlereagh on December 8th or 9th, 1988.
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling outthis form. New comments are only accepted for 10 days from the date of publication.
Comments (50)
Sort By: 

A comprehensive piece from the Irish Times, congratulations. There may be some other material here that readers will find useful :

This is something that has been known from the start.

Does the fact that the murderer (the British State) has now confessed suddenly waken the Irish Times to the bleedin' obvious?

Will the IT be demanding prosecution of the criminals in the British Security forces? Which it faithfully supported while Mr Finucane was murdered?

Don't hold your breath folks!

The truth is finally dripping out. With the British Government and the RUC on one side. No wonder we have had years of troubles. You can not discriminate against one side deprive them of a good living and not have people rise up. Lets hope there are some lessons learned. One would hope.....................

shocking to hear this .. 

The petit bourgeoisie of the twenty six counties live in La La Land most
of them, sheltered existence, perhaps because the escaped the ravages
of WWII, they have a child like view of the institutions of power, as
though they were all benign and if people behave nicely and do as they're told
they'll look after them. This is very evident in the reckless manner in
which two successive centre right governments have sold us down the river to the IMF &
friends, seemingly oblivious to what everyone else knows, that this is
basically arm of the US military industrial complex leaving the Irish people as always
to become cannon fodder for imperialists.

Glad to see the Finucane family get justice, I'd be even gladder if I
knew so called democratic governments didn't subvert the entire legal
system by colluding in the brutal assassination of solicitors trying
to do their job by representing their client.

I think you're living in lala land. The Irish Government protected our country from sinking. Can you imagine we pulled out of the euro or defaulted? Idiot.

Secondly, your claim that Ireland is basically an arm of US Military industrial complex is just an absolute idiotic statement.

You need to educate yourself before stereotyping and looking like a fool.

The state of the Irish public finances has nothing to do with the murder of Mr Finucane or any military industrial complex. Rather it was due to the incompetence of the governments of Ahern and Cowen.

A report whose outcome is only shocking to the extent that it is actually candid...

Pretty much on a par with the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

Everybody knew exactly what had occurred, and a web of lies was spun over it for decades by the authorities.

7 out of 10 members of the Provisonal IRA Army Council were British Agents when will we have a report on their murderous activity........
View more items

I assume they already know? Smithwick Tribunal?

Hope Hope
dont assume, always bad practice.

BritneyMurphy aka Vincent McKenna. Google his name and see what horrors this nice man from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan committed.

For the record, the first sectarian killings (of John Scullion and Peter Ward) were carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force; the first bombings (in 1969), by loyalists; the first state killings (of Sammy Devenney, in front of his family; of nine-year-old Patrick Rooney, shot dead in his bed), by the Royal Ulster Constabulary; the first British soldier to die (Hugh McCabe, a Catholic, home on leave and defending Divis Flats) was killed by the RUC; and the first RUC officer to be killed (Constable William Arbuckle), by loyalists. None of the state killers were ever charged but were protected by the British government, as are all of their assassins to this day. Shocking levels of colusion?? Who does Cameron think he is fooling?

are you reading this britney?

I don't think Lenny Murphy's kin is interested JeanMartin.

Hope Hope
@MichaelHunt, facts presented.

Shocking to whom? The dogs on the street have known for years about the collusion between British security forces and loyalist murder squads!
The trained, funded and armed this scum. They are one and the same and always have been! 

They are also responsible for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, but our cowardly government refuses to pursue them.

This is the tip of an iceberg which many people at Stormont would like to see remain uncovered.
I am glad that so much has been revealed officially about the late Patrick Finucane's murder.
Mr. Finucane was a high profile member of the oppressed minority, I would like to see a similar effort made on behalf of less well known victims in poorer areas.
I am thinking of some-one like Martin Quinn, shot dead in his bed, in front of his widowed mother, in the Bawnmore Estate . The murderers were alleged to be freelance loyalists, but very little ever emerged.
Just another working-class Catholic whose death could safely be ignored by the powers that be. 
View more items

Hope Hope
yes the trouble was always above in the north, the cheek of all of them, & kenny has the temerity to abuse Adams. All the dandy men in the free state, cowering underneath their coat collars, avoiding the world media like the plague, must look right fools now. Though Dublin & Monaghan events yet to surface, ones past has a habit of catching up.

Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh
Dublin and Monaghan? There'll be no "catching up" there, seeing as how the Gardai and/or the Dept. of Justice in Dublin conveniently lost the files... Wouldn't like to embarrass those upholders of civilisation and all that is truly good in mankind across the water now, would we?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Hope Hope
aha..someone will spill the beans, they always do, no honour among thieves you know.

Eimear is correct; the Irish people trapped in the six counties are more in touch with their Irish identity and are more proud of it than we are. I am also realistic enough to know, regardless of how I may feel about it, that the Unionist community is more vehement in portraying its Britishness than anyone in Wales, Scotland or England.

I find it interesting that her reaction is the only response to this piece, but if some "outrage" was exposed on the nationalist side there would be pages of indignation filled input from readers. Hopefully, someday, we will have politicians who represent our fellow countrymen as passionately as elements of the Conservative Party have done down through the decades for the unionist population. Eimear, thank you for a contrarian point of view. I would only take issue with one point you made. We do take interest in everything unionist and seem to defend their rights exclusively. Why do we hate our own...

its a case of "feck you jack, i'm alright". 26 counties of free-staters. its hard to believe that at one time 99% of the population were republican!

Hope Hope
true, but no ones ancestor in the current dail, lifted a finger to aid independence, wouldn't you know it.

Eimear Karas
I spent last weekend in Belfast, specifically West Belfast where Pat Finucane's murder is still very much an open wound in the minds of the Nationalist people. The British have just confirmed what we already knew, same with Bloody Sunday and other atrocities committed against the Nationalist community in Northern Ireland. I think we do not take enough interest in the issues facing both communities north of the border.

Walking around West Belfast I was impressed by the use of the Irish language in urban community up there. I hate to say it but I dread the day that they achieve their ambitions to be reunited with the rest of the Republic ,the reality is that they are more Irish than we are.
View more items

Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh
"Dread"? More like "bring it on"!!!!

Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh
"Without the Protestant North we have become lopsided. We lack that vigorous and rebellious northern element which in the 18th century was responsible for both our nationalism and our republicanism. And without the South the North has become
smug . . ." - a direct quote from the Anglo-Irish writer Hubert Butler, to be found in a fabulous article by John Banville in the Irish Times Weekend edition of December 1, 2012:

Not sure what the Protestant North would bring in terms of industrial or commercial advantage. That still applied 40 years ago. However direct rule, the troubles and the economic rot that set in makes one question the relevance of that quotation.
If there is referendum on unity, it should take place on both sides of the border. If both sides say yes it would not be for short term economic gain, taking on the North would mean paying the enormous subsidy the UK pays to maintain NI. Would the UK, EU or US or our new friends China pick up the bill?
The Celtic tiger Republic could have paid for unification, not sure we we are now able to as we cut the budget to clean up the mess left by Mr Cowen's government.
The romantics will say that in the long run unification will be beneficial economically. Perhaps, we had better get the conditions right.
Look at Germany where the west is still maintaining the poorer east. Contrast with EU enlargement where some new MS have overtaken some of the older once richer western states.  

You make some good points, but I think that the idea of anyone being "more Irish" than anyone else is a mistake.

When I first came to Dublin from the north 12 years ago, a college friend asked me why on earth we would have been learning Irish at school in the north. I didn't get into an argument about how my family in Ulster have long been Irish, every bit as much as his, but it did very much highlight a certain view of being "real" versus "northern" Irish that I was honestly shocked by.

The partitionist idea that everyone marooned north of the border magically became British, or substantially less Irish, after 1922 is disturbing. And that does not exclude unionists - I consider a presbyterian from Ballymena every bit as Irish as anyone on the island and absolutely not "less Irish" than anyone from Dublin or Cork.
Post a Comment