The de Silva Report
On Tuesday I raised the de Silva report into Pat Finucane’s killing in the Dáil with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. I asked that time be made available for a debate on the report. I also wrote to him last week and I asked that the Irish government carry out a trawl of the documents available to it about the threat to human rights lawyer PJ McGrory, as well as to Pat Finucane and Oliver Kelly.
I have decided to publish my letter to the Taoiseach in this column. The Pat Finucane case goes to the heart of British state collusion. The detail of what occurred is important if bereaved families and the communities in which they live are to have the fullest understanding of the events of that time.
December 13th 2012
Taoiseach a chara,
As you are aware the British government has not co-operated with the efforts to find justice for families bereaved or for those injured in actions involving their forces or believed to have resulted from collusion between these forces and unionist paramilitaries.
These actions include the Ballymurphy Massacre, the Springhill Massacre, the Dublin Monaghan bombings and the killing of Pat Finucane.
There are other cases involving collusion, these include the killing of three Sinn Féin Councillors John Davey, Bernard O Hagan and Eddie Fullerton who was murdered in his home in Buncrana county Donegal, eleven other Sinn Féin members and 7 of our family members.
You will recall that I have urged you to adopt an approach in some of these cases similar to that employed in the run up to the Saville Inquiry.
That is for your government to compile a file of all relevant information about these cases as a means to persuade the British government to lift the lid on these matters.
I welcome the government’s support for the Finucane family’s call for a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.
I disagree with the Tánaiste’s assertion that David Cameron should be commended for his determination in seeking the truth about collusion.
The de Silva review was constructed to frustrate the family’s demand for truth. It is a direct breach of the international agreement between the Irish and British government at Weston Park.
Mr. Cameron has said that there was no ‘over-arching State conspiracy’.
His statement that the then Attorney-General, Sir Patrick Mayhew, deserves credit for prosecuting British agent Brian Nelson has no credibility.
Nelson is believed to have been involved in at least 15 murders, probably many more and scores of attempted killings.
Far from prosecuting Nelson fully and in order to prevent the detail of Nelson’s role as an agent being scrutinised in court Patrick Mayhew did a deal with Nelson. The murder charges against Nelson were dropped.
It was agreed that Colonel Gordon Kerr, the head of the Force Research Unit, which ran many of the collusion operations, would give evidence supporting Nelson.
The British Minister of Defence Tom King, who was Secretary of State for the north at the time of the killing of Pat Finucane, provided a letter of commendation for Nelson.
And the British Prime Minister John Major held a meeting just before the trial with the north’s Lord Chief Justice Brian Hutton and the trial judge Basil Kelly.
It is clear that there was significant knowledge among senior British Ministers about the role of Nelson, working as an agent of the British government, and that they moved to cover it up.
Later when Patrick Mayhew was Secretary of State for the north the RUC Special Branch ran a UVF gang out of Mount Vernon, led by a Special Branch agent Mark Haddock,that killed at least ten people and possibly others.
Mayhew cannot claim not to have known about collusion.
In addition, the Force Research Unit received at least 74 ‘awards and honours’ for its work from the British government, including an OBE for Colonel Kerr in May 1991, less than two years after Pat Finucane was killed.
Furthermore, before Pat Finucane was killed Belfast solicitor PJ McGrory spoke to me about the threat to his life. He told me that the UDA was saying that the RUC was putting it under pressure to kill himself, Pat Finucane and Oliver Kelly.
PJ told me he briefed the Irish government who said they would raise it with the NIO.
Hours after Pat Finucane was killed an Irish government official was in PJ’s home speaking to him about the threats.
The then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey phoned and told PJ that he would take this matter up with Downing Street.
In keeping with my suggestion about compiling a file, the Irish government should now initiate an extensive examination of all documents in the Department of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Justice relating to the north and identify those which could assist the family in refuting the British government’s effort to frustrate the Finucane family’s demand for a public inquiry.
Is there a record of PJ’s conversation with the Taoiseach and with other departmental officials?
Did the Taoiseach, Mr. Haughey, raise this matter with Downing Street or the NIO?
What information has the government on the many allegations of collusion than were being made then and since?
Did the Irish government or any of its agencies speak to the British government or its agencies?
Taoiseach, the Irish government needs to shift into a higher gear in support of the family.
A strategic approach is required that would see the government use its diplomatic services across the globe and its influence in the USA, in the EU and at the United Nations, where the Irish government now sits on the Human Rights Council, to win support for the Finucane family.
I look forward to your reply.
Gerry Adams TD