Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

PM says 'sorry' after Finucane report confirms collusion

Rebecca petticrew

cteditorial@thect.co.uk

THE widow of murdered Belfast solicitor, Patrick Finucane, dismissed last week's government-ordered report into her husband's murder as "a sham."

The Finucane family travelled to Downing Street last week, to hear the conclusions of the de Silva report into the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor first hand.

Describing the level of state collusion uncovered by the report as "shocking," the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: "On behalf of the whole country, let me say to the Finucane family, I am deeply sorry."

Mr Finucane was shot dead in the kitchen of his home in front of his wife and children in 1989, in a killing later claimed by the UDA.

Sir Desmond de Silva conducted the review into Mr Finucane's murder and concluded there was "no overarching state conspiracy," but confirmed that agents of the state were involved in the killing and that it should have been prevented.

Describing the report as "a sham... a whitewash... a confidence trick", widow, Geraldine Finucane said,: "This report is not the truth."

She continued: "At every turn, it is clear that this report has done exactly what was required -ndash; to give the benefit of the doubt to the state, its cabinet and ministers, to the Army, the intelligence services, to itself.

"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."

Chief Constable of the Police Service for Northern Ireland, Matt Baggott offered a "complete, absolute and unconditional apology" to the Finucane family who were "abjectly failed". He said: "The report findings are unequivocal and we accept them fully. The report finds that a series of positive actions by employees of the State actively furthered and facilitated his murder and that, in the aftermath of the murder, there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice."

Asking for "time to consider the findings in detail," Mr Baggott said that the report will be discussed with the Police Ombudsman and the Public Prosecution Service.

Geraldine Finucane renewed her call for a full public inquiry into the death of her husband, but said she accepted that she would probably have to wait for a change in government before an inquiry was authorised.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said the Finucane family had been "failed time and time again" by successive governments. "The state has accepted that there was collusion in Patrick Finucane's killing. Those responsible must be held accountable."

UUP peer Lord Empey warned that if another Inquiry were to be opened into the Finucane murder then he had a list of "at least 13 other cases involving multiple deaths over a very long time that have just been completely airbrushed out of history."

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