FINUCANE FAMILY SLAM REPORT AS ‘WHITEWASH’ AFTER IT REVEALS RUC SPECIAL BRANCH, MI5 AND FORCE RESEARCH UNIT COLLUDED IN SOLICITOR’S MURDER

Murdered solicitor Pat Finucane

RUC SPECIAL BRANCH, MI5 and the Force Research unit colluded in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

But a report published today into the 1989 murder said there was “no over-arching stating collusion’’ in the killing by the UDA.

Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday on the report compiled by Sir Desmond de Silva QC.

The author said that there was no involvement by the British Government or ministers in the murder.

However, he said that state agencies – MI5, RUC Special Branch, and military personnel in the Force Research Unit – were complicit in the murder.

But the family of the solicitor have condemned the report.

Widow Geraldine Finucane said: “It is a suppression of the truth. It is a sham, a whitewash, a confidence trick.”

Her demand for a full public inquiry has been backed by MPs in the House of Commons, including SDLP leader Alisdair McDonnell, Sir Menzies Campbell, former Northern Ireland Secretaries Shaun Woodford and Peter Hain.

Addresing MPs from the despatch box, the Prime Minister said: “It pains me to read this report.’’

He added:  “There are some shocking things in this report.

“What is shocking is that one of those involved in the murder was then recruited after the murder.

“What is also shocking is that military personnel refused to co-operate and obstructed the Stevens inquiry.”

He added: “I apologise to the Finucane family on behalf of this government and this House.”

However, the son of the murder solicitor, John Finucane said: “An apology is not in the correct running order.

“You don’t apologise for something but then not fully admit what it is you’re apologising for. I think that’s what the Prime Minister has done.’

Widow Geraldine Finucane and family arrive at Westminster

Mr Finucane added: ‘The British Government entered into an agreement during peace talks in 2001 with the Irish Government in which they stated that there would be a public inquiry, if the recommendation was made.

‘The recommendation was made in five cases in total, including my father’s. Public inquiries have been set up in relation to the other four, they have commenced, they have finished, they have reported.

‘The only case that’s outstanding is the case of my father. This review, we feel, is the embodiment of a broken promise of the British Government. We do feel that if they are sincere in dealing with this issue then they need to grasp this issue and they need to deal with it in a credible fashion.”

Speaking at the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said the murder was an “appalling crime” that happened during an “extremely dark and violent time in Northern Ireland’s history”.

He said the review finds the Army and Special Branch had advance notice of a series of planned UDA assassinations, but took no action.

“The whole country is entitled to know the extent and the nature of collusion.

“It should [have been] clear to Special Branch that the UDA were about to mount an attack,” he said of Mr Finucane’s murder.

De Silva found employees and agents of the state played “key roles” in the murder, and Mr Cameron said, “It cannot be argued that these were rogue agents”.

But the de Silva review also found no evidence that any government was aware in advance of the murder or knew about the subsequent cover up.

Mr Cameron described the degree of collusion exposed as “unacceptable”.

He said MI5 found that 85 per cent of intelligence in the hands of the UDA came from members of the security forces.

The family did not participate in Sir de Silva’s report, which cost £1.5 million to complete.

The Prime Minister said Sir de Silva had “full and unrestricted access to government papers” including previously classified documents. He added that the author’s decision over what to publish was “entirely his own”.

The report will now be reviewed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Secretary of State for Defence and the Cabinet Secretary in Downing Street.

And Mr Cameron said the report will also be reviewed by the director of Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland, Barra McGrory.

 

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