Finucane murder report draws apology from David Cameron

Dec 12, 2012

British security forces and Loyalist gunmen colluded in 1989 killing of Belfast solicitor, says Da Silva report

DAVID CAMERON has apologised to the family of a Belfast solicitor shot dead in front of his family in 1989, following the release of a report today confirming British security forces colluded in the killing.

The Prime Minister told the Commons there were "unacceptable" and "shocking levels of collusion" between British Army agents and the Loyalist gunmen who killed 39-year-old Pat Finucane, a well-known defence lawyer who represented many high-profile IRA defendants.

Finucane, 39, died in front of his and three children at the dinner table in their Belfast home. Cameron described the act as an "appalling crime" and apologised to the solicitor’s family for the "most grievous wrongs" they had suffered.

Addressing Parliament this afternoon, Cameron said that "on the balance of probability", an officer or officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary did suggest Finucane as a target to loyalist terrorists. But the Prime Minister denied there was an "over-arching conspiracy" to use Loyalists to target active Republicans.

The release of the 500-page report by Sir Desmond Silva QC drew a frosty response from Finucane’s widow, Geraldine, who has long called for a full public inquiry into the matter. She described it as "a sham … a whitewash … a confidence trick". Most insulting of all, she said, "this report is not the truth".
The report’s key findings include:

Deliberate help: British Army agents "deliberately" helped Loyalist gunmen select their targets in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

No notification: The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was aware of two previous plans to kill Finucane in the 1980s but did not notify him of the threat.

Propaganda: MI5 helped spread propaganda against Finucane in the years before he was killed.

Information supplied: RUC officers proposed Finucane be killed, passed information to his killers, failed to stop the attack and obstructed the murder investigation.

Ministers unaware: It is possible government ministers were unaware that Finucane was being lined up for assassination.

Agents and informers: Those who directed and took part in the murder of Finucane were mainly agents and informers working for the army's Force Research Unit (FRU).

Inadequate supervision: The legal supervision of agents in paramilitary gangs was woefully inadequate and the high level ignorance about their activity among British army officers was possibly intentional.

Sources: The Guardian, the BBC and The Times

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