Belfast Telegraph

Brigadier Kerr must be questioned over secret unit in Northern Ireland, say victims

Sinn Fein's John Finucane
Sinn Fein's John Finucane

By Staff Reporter

Victims have called on police to quiz the army officer who commanded a secret military intelligence unit during the Troubles.

Scottish Brigadier Gordon Kerr (70) ran the Force Research Unit (FRU), whose officers handled top level paramilitary informers during the Troubles and has been dubbed the mastermind of 'Ulster's Dirty War'.

Last Tuesday, the unit's top agent in the IRA, Freddie Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife, is believed to have been arrested and questioned in connection to dozens of murders as part of Operation Kenova, which is being headed up by Bedfordshire Police. On Friday, chief constable Jon Boutcher confirmed that a 72-year-old man who was released on bail will "return to police custody" in the near future.

"This arrest was a significant step in what continues to be an incredibly complex and wide-ranging investigation," he added.

Sinn Fein's John Finucane (37), whose solicitor father Pat was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with State forces in 1989, has demanded "greater scrutiny" of Kerr's role at the time of his father's death.

"Given the unit Kerr ran has led to the deaths of so many people, we have always found it strange that there hasn't been any scrutiny of what Kerr was doing," he told the Glasgow Herald.

"Gordon Kerr is very much at the centre of the actions of the FRU... Kerr's role in all of this needs to be examined."

Mr Finucane said if allegations that "Scappaticci was killing people at the behest of those in charge" prove to be true, then "the question is no longer who pulled the trigger, it's who pulled the strings"?

"We may not necessarily get justice, but we want the truth," he added.

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice also called for Kerr to face tough questions in order to expose the "murky backdrop" in which the state "effectively decided who lived and died."

Belfast Telegraph


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