Hogg received numerous Finucane briefings
Hogg received numerous Finucane briefings

Former British Conservative Home office minister Douglas Hogg has admitted he was privately briefed by RUC Special Branch on multiple occasions in the run up to the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane.

Just weeks before the 1989 murder of Mr Finucane, the Conservative MP told the House of Commons that some solicitors in the North were “unduly sympathetic” to the cause of the IRA.

Pat Finucane was gunned down by a British/unionist death squad in his north Belfast home on February 12, 1989. Hogg later went on to become a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.

Members of anti-collusion group An Fhirinne and the murdered solicitor’s son John confronted the Tory MP about his comments as he visited Belfast this week.

In reference to his questioning on collusion by the Stevens investigation, Hogg revealed that he had had so many meetings with police about Pat Finucane it would have been “impossible for me to remember them all”.

He admitted that he had been unable to recall the dates and times of the secret RUC briefings when asked by John Stevens because the meetings had been so frequent.

The former minister added that he had had to refer back to his parliamentary diaries to confirm the details of his meetings with RUC Special Branch.

The Tory MP was this week acting as Queen’s Counsel for the family of the late sergeant Harry White, who was fatally wounded during a live-fire exercise at Ballykinler army base.

As coroner David Hunter yesterday concluded his judgment on Mr White’s death, protesters holding pictures of Pat Finucane confronted Douglas Hogg.

The Tory MP looked stunned as the protesters called out: “What about justice for Pat Finucane?” and “Do you still stand by your comments?” from the public gallery of the Old Town Hall courthouse in Belfast.

Court officials led Mr Hogg out a back door of the courthouse.

Speaking outside the court, Pat Finucane’s son John said it was time for the Conservative MP to come clean about his private meetings with RUC Special Branch in the run up to the Belfast solicitor’s murder.

“We have never been given answers by Douglas Hogg about his briefings with the RUC,” said John Finucane.

“He has never apologised or even recognised the impact that his comments had and the distress they caused my family.

“I think it says a lot about his lack of remorse that he is willing to come to Belfast and practise law in the very place where a solicitor was killed following his inflammatory comments.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News