Irish Republican News · July 9, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Inquiries fudged again

The British government has released only sketchy details of its plans for inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Billy Wright and Robert Hamill.

Inquiries into the three cases were announced last April following the eventual publication of the reports by Canadian Judge Peter Cory into the murders. The British government indefinitely delayed any action on the most controversial case, that of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane.

British Crown forces are thought to have colluded in each of the killings.

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy told the Westminster parliament in a written statement yesterday that the inquiries would be guided by general principles, and with limited access to necessary resources.

Senior or retired judges from outside the Six Counties would be sought to chair each of the inquiries. They will each be assisted by a legal specialist and another member, also from outside the Six Counties.

Mr Murphy said he did not know if the format set out would satisfy the families of the three murder victims, but expressed his confidence that it was “the right format”.

He stressed each inquiry would have the same powers as the Bloody Sunday inquiry but would be “cost-effective”.

Mr Murphy’s written statement said the inquiries should “establish the facts as quickly as possible, but that they should avoid unnecessary expenditure.”

Mr Wright, head of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was shot dead inside Long Kesh by the republican INLA; Ms Nelson, a human rights lawyer, was blown up by a booby-trap bomb outside her home in Lurgan, County Armagh; and Mr Hamill was kicked to death in Portadown, while the police watched.

Sinn Féin said Murphy’s statement left too many issues outstanding.

Mr Gerry Kelly said: “The British government has been in possession of the Cory reports since last October. In early April they published a censored version of Judge Cory’s findings. Since then they have refused to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and today they announced the commencement of the process to set up inquiries into the three other cases.” He said Mr Murphy’s statement lacked “detail and clarity”.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News