Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Pat Finucane report getting final national security checks before publication

Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane who was shot dead by Loyalists
Solicitor Pat Finucane was killed at his home in Belfast in 1989
Funeral of lawyer Pat Finucane, murdered by loyalists. 1989. Pacemaker

A report into one of the most infamous killings of the Troubles is now being checked for human rights and national security considerations before publication.

It comes after a year-long review led by QC Sir Desmond de Silva who has examined evidence in the Pat Finucane murder case.

Last October Prime Minister David Cameron accepted “that State collusion had taken place” in the 1989 killing. The latest report, when published, will be scrutinised for the fine detail behind that statement.

Yesterday Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said that the Government submitted to the review “some material that was relevant to its work but which was too sensitive to be disclosed publicly”.

Mr Finucane, a solicitor, was killed by loyalists in 1989 — shot 12 times from close range at his north Belfast home.

A number of Army and Special Branch agents have been linked to the murder plot. A year ago Mr Cameron opted for a review of the evidence.

That report is now complete, leading to yesterday’s statement from the Secretary of State.

The UDA-linked UFF admitted the Finucane killing, and since then a number of agents operating within that organisation have been revealed including Brian Nelson and William Stobie. Both are now dead, but many believe that collusion went much wider.

Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said: “One of the key issues is what was known about Nelson’s activities at Cabinet level.

“There’s speculation the cat they don’t want to let out of the bag has to do with what was being said at Cabinet level about the legal community,” he added.

Ms Villiers hopes to publish the review team’s report “in its entirety”.

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