Irish Republican News · January 14, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

British shamed as Cory acts

The British government's continuing failure to publish a report into four cases of alleged collusion is developing into a fresh crisis of confidence for the peace process.

The author of the report, retired Canadian Judge Cory, has embarrassed Britain by contacting the families of those who died in the contentious killings to convey his conclusion that a public inquiry is needed in each case.

British forces are accused of playing a role in the deaths of defence lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill and loyalist paramilitary Billy Wright.

Judge Cory is a respected international legal figure who the governments called in to deal with the cases, itself seen as a delaying tactic. But now the British government appears intent on suppressing publication of Cory's reports.

The judge is reportedly angry at the inhumane manner in which the British government dealt with his reports delivered last October. It contrasts sharply with the manner in which the Dublin Government handled reports into contentious killings involving the Garda police, which were swiftly published and acted upon.

The British government's refusal to publish the report is a further breach of its commitments at the Weston Park negotiations in 2001.

Coupled with its failure to follow through on a deal to restore devolved government in October last year, British bad faith is set to become the major issue in the review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, scheduled to begin at the end of the month.

The claim from the British government that the four reports cannot be published due to security and legal implications have convinced no-one, including Judge Cory. There have been allegations that the British government has worked to censor the reports and is now trying desperately to avoid holding the inquiries demanded by the families for several years and now backed by Cory.

The Finucane, Nelson, Hamill and Wright families were grateful for the judge's action.

Mr Finucane said the family was ``pleased and grateful to Judge Cory''.

``He has taken an honourable stance compared to the British who have been made to look very foolish.

``It was the humane thing to do and the families shouldn't have to wait any longer. They have a legal right and a very strong moral right to know what is contained in the report.''

He added that, following Judge Cory's submission, the British government had disclosed information to the media before speaking to the families.

``It's clearly an issue about which the judge and government have strong differences of opinion.''

The brother of murdered Lurgan lawyer Rosemary Nelson, Eunan Magee, last night said he believed Judge Cory had grown tired of the British government ``dragging its heels''.

``No public inquiry is going to bring Rosemary back but the judge is offering us some kind of closure - something that should have come naturally.''

Diane Hamill, sister of Robert Hamill, who died following a loyalisst beating which took place in the presence of an RUC patrol in Portadown in 1987, said: ``There has been such a cover-up. It can't be allowed to go on. If you want peace, you can't have peace without truth and justice.

Former Labour party spokesman on the North, Kevin McNamara said he was ``outraged'' by the ongoing delay, adding: ``The families have been through so much.''

Speaking in the British parliament, he said there was increasing concern that the government was trying to ``edit'' Judge Cory's recommendations. British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy lamely repeated the claim that legal and security issues were preventing the disclosure.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly accused the British government of trying to cover up collusion.

``There can be no other explanation for their failure to either publish or act upon the findings of Judge Cory,'' the North party's justice spokesman said.

``The British government entered into very public commitments after the Weston Park talks to act upon Judge Cory's findings.

``They have had possession of his report from last October and have failed to honour their pledges.

``Despite the efforts of Paul Murphy in the British House of Commons today, the position adopted by his Government is indefensible.''

Sinn Féin Party president Gerry Adams said the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, must personally address the issue.

``Cory should be immediately published and the British government must establish full public judicial inquiries,'' he said.

``There was a policy and administrative practice of collusion between British agencies and agents with unionist paramilitaries. That obviously is a huge thing for a British government to deal with. But Mr Blair has to deal with this issue.''

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2004 Irish Republican News