State role in Finucane murder

British government agents played "key roles" in the 1989 murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, a report has found. There had been long-running allegations of state collusion in his death.

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Key questions remain for the Finucane family

The Finucane family are maintaining their demand for a full public inquiry, and have said today's review by Lord did not provide them with much new information. Geraldine Finucane said:

At every turn, dead witnesses have been blamed and defunct agencies found wanting. Serving personnel and active state departments appear to have been excused.

The dirt has been swept under the carpet without any serious attempt to lift the lid on what really happened to Pat and so many others

The report revealed "shocking" levels of state collusion, but "no conspiracy." The Finucane family may be seeking answers to some of the following questions:

  • Who were the police officers involved that suggested Mr Finucane be selected as a murder target? Will they be named? Are they still serving?
  • Who in the Army "must bear some responsibility" for the death?
  • Why did the RUC not act on the information provided by informer Brian Stobie?
  • Who within the Army and the Ministry of Defence provided "highly misleading" and "factually inaccurate" information about the handling of informer Brian Nelson?
  • How high up the chain of command in the Army and the MOD did the subsequent cover-up of the intelligence surrounding Brian Nelson go?

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NI Sec: Exceptionally difficult day for the Government

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said the information contained in the de Silva report made "exceptionally difficult" reading for the Government. She said the report uncovered new, shocking information:

"I think this is genuinely an exceptionally difficult day for the British Government, because we are presented with the facts of state involvement, the involvement of paid state agents in a killing, which is utterly unacceptable, utterly devastating"

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'Shocking' levels of state collusion, but 'no conspiracy'

The de Silva review into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane has concluded there was "no overarching state conspiracy" but "shocking" levels of state collusion.

De Silva found the following agencies of the state were involved in the murder, and subsequent cover-up of the murder:

The RUC

  • Members of the RUC "proposed" Mr Finucane be selected as a murder target
  • They took "no action whatsoever" to prevent the planned attack
  • The was a failure to investigate and arrest key members of the West Belfast UDA after the attack
  • Members "seriously obstructed" the criminal investigation

The Army

  • The Army had information on a series of planned UDA attacks through their informer Brian Nelson, but did nothing with the information
  • The army "must take responsibility" for Nelson's "targeting activity", including Mr Finucane during 1987-1989
  • Senior officers lied to criminal investigators
  • The Army and MoD officials provided the defence minister with "highly misleading" and in parts "factually inaccurate" information about the handling of informer Brain Nelson

PSNI apologise for police involvement in 'brutal murder'

PSNI Chief Matt Baggott offered his apologies to the family of Pat Finucane for the role the police played in his "brutal" murder. He said:

"The report findings are unequivocal and we accept them fully. It is clear that the murder of Mr Finucane should never have happened."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) replaced the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 2000.

Villiers: De Silva review 'profoundly shocking'

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers Credit: PA

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said she was "profoundly shocked" by the de Silva review into the collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and security forces in the murder of Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane. She said:

"This report is incredibly frank. It has hugely harsh things to say about what went on with the involvement of state agents in murder."

"It's something which is profoundly shocking and I simply don't believe that a public inquiry would take this further."

"This report has revealed the facts about what happened and I don't believe that waiting 10, or even 12 years, for a public inquiry to complete would reveal more facts about Pat Finucane."

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