Irish Republican News · March 1, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
British legal manouevre delays Cory ruling

The British government today succeeded in delaying court action which aims to force it to publish reports on murders in which it is accused of playing a role.

A judicial review into the government's failure to give a date for the publication of the Judge Cory reports on collusion killings was due to begin at the High Court in Belfast this morning.

But an initial application on behalf of British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy to have the proceedings adjourned for three weeks was granted.

Justice Gillen. said he granted the application ``reluctantly'' and wished to make it clear he did so in the expectation that the court would be given dates for publication of the reports in three weeks time.

The judge said he had to balance the desire of the families of the victims to have the reports published against any potential risk to those named in the documents.

The reports by retired Canadian Supreme Court judge Peter Cory looked at allegations of security force collusion in the murder of defence lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, Portadown man Robert Hamill and unionist paramilitary Billy Wright.

Legal action was launched by the Finucane, Nelson and Wright families when the British Government failed to publish its reports, despite Judge Cory privately telling the families he had recommended public inquiries in all cases.

Speaking after today's ruling, Geraldine Finucane, widow of Pat Finucane, said she was ``extremely disappointed'' the case had been held up.

``This is just another delay in a long list of delays - they have been delaying for the last 15 years and want to keep it going as long as possible.''

She said it was an insult by Mr Murphy that there had been little or no notice to them that the British government was seeking an adjournment of the case.

And she said the revelation during the hearing that British military and police officials had seen the report was an outrage.

``I think it is an absolute disgrace that people in the MoD and PSNI have seen the report into my husband's murder and I have not.

``These people are being accused of many things and I think it outrageous they have seen the report before me,'' said Mrs Finucane.


Suspicions that the British authorities knew in advance about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 would inevitably remain if the records of British intelligence organisations were not made available to investigators, the Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said.

Mr Ahern said he agreed with Justice Henry Barron that the scope of his recent report into the attacks was limited by the failure of the British government to make original intelligence records available to his inquiry.

The Taoiseach told a subcommittee of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice that a sworn public inquiry into the attacks was unlikely to secure access to such records. Such an inquiry would cost tens of millions of euro over several years, he said.

Without the co-operation of MI5 and MI6, it was unlikely to get the most relevant information.

Mr Ahern went on to say that the collusion investigations conducted by the retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory, merited examination by the sub-committee. However, he had no information to suggest that the British government would co-operate.

The Taoiseach said Judge Cory told him that he had ``total access to an enormous amount of records'' during this work.

Mr Ahern attributed this to the formal agreement between the Irish and British governments at the Weston Park talks in July 2001 at which the Cory investigations were agreed.

Still, Mr Ahern said that MI5 and MI6 were ``almost impenetrable'' and their records were unlikely to be revealed.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News