The Stevens Report into incidents of British crown forces colluding with loyalist paramilitaries has received scant attention since its publication last week. Like so many previous inquiries carried out by senior British judges and police officers, it has been used to whitewash the facts and provide a breathing space for the British Government until the latest scandel over its dirty war in the Six Counties has blown over.
The strategy succeeded in the past week with the report being treated as old news despite the fact that the collusion scandal has made banner headlines and topped the TV news a few short months ago.
The scandal blew up after the loyalist killers of Rathfriland man Laughlinn Maginn revealed that they had RUC documents which they used to target their victim. There followed a flood of similar leaks and revelations of leaks, with RUC and UDR barracks and one whole division implicated in the collusion crisis.
In his report, Stevens revealed that he was aware of 2,600 documents pin-pointing individual nationalists that had come to light during his inquiry alone. Yet in the wake of the initial storm, all attention was turned from the RUC members who were responsible for supplying so much information to loyalists.
The SDLP kicked up a row and the Dublin Government called for and was given a series of meetings with British ministers. Dublin and the SDLP were silenced by the announcement of the inquiry and while Stevens conducted his prolonged investigation, the whole controversy passed out of public attention.
Phoblacht, Thursday 24 May 1990