Call for truth over loyalist weapons
Call for truth over loyalist weapons

Two Belfast families whose lives changed forever after their loved ones were gunned down by weapons obtained by a British agent in South Africa have called on the government to tell the truth about their role in the murders.


John Finucane, son of murdered Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane, said the British government’s support for victims of IRA actions and their campaign seeking compensation from Libya was clear “double standards”.

The campaign, which is being supported by DUP MLA Jeffrey Donaldson, was one-sided, John said.

“The British government continue to suppress their role in the arming and training of loyalists in Ireland and their complicity of the most serious of crimes,” said John, today a lawyer himself.

“They continue to deny my family and deny other families the truth, yet they are capable of lobbying the Libyans. This is politically and morally unbalanced.”

The Finucanes are dedicated to the pursuit of truth John added, especially around collusion and the role of loyalist agents, like Brian Nelson one of the first to be recruited by British intelligence.

“We don’t want money,”John Finucane said.

“We want the truth so therefore our lobbying of the British Government is on the truth. Our case is different, we want the truth and want to know how far up the chain of command collusion went. This is why our focus has been on the public enquiry.”

In the summer of 1985 Nelson negotiated arms from South Africa in 1985 that included 200 AK47 rifles, 90 Browning pistols, 500 fragmentation grenades, ammunition and 12 RPG launchers.

To finance the trip, the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance carried out a bank robbery at the Northern Bank in Portadown and this netted #325,000.

Those same guns went on to kill dozens especially after they arrived on these shores in 1988.

Lives taken that year include Seamus Morris from Ardoyne, Paul McBride from Ardoyne and Stephen McGahan from the New Lodge who both died in the Avenue Bar atrocity and Terry McDaid was brutally murdered at his home in Newington Street in May 1988.

West Belfast father of three Gerard Slane is also on the 1988 death roll-call.

He was shot dead in September 1988 at his home in the Falls. His killers published a picture taken of him in Castlereagh in a UDA magazine and his car registration number was put on top of a loyalist bonfire after his murder.

Brian Nelson was charged with his murder but the charges were later mysteriously dropped Gerard’s widow Theresa explained.

“The British government are supporting the families in their bid to get compensation from the Libyans. But the British Government allowed these guns from South Africa to come in, and they were used to kill people, people like my husband.

“We as a family would be asking the British to tell the truth about the South African shipment, and admit their role in the murder of our loved ones.

“To me this isn’t about compensation, I just want the truth. My husband is dead 21 years in a few days time and I have never had anything from the British.”


Sinn Féin today [Monday] opposed a unionist motion, calling for compensation from the Libyan Government for victims of the IRA.

The party said it has repeatedly made it clear that there can be no hierarchy of victims.

Speaking against the motion, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the movers of the motion “must surely appreciate the inappropriateness the hypocrisy of any British government making or supporting such a demand of any other government given the London government’s long history of involvement in violence in Ireland.

“This includes the killing of citizens from Derry to Ballymurphy, from Newry to the Shankill and on many other occasions.

“It includes directing, arming, training, and providing information to unionist death squads which led to the deaths of citizens.

“It includes numerous cover ups, including revelations recently about Loughinisland.

“Remember taxpayers money, what greater scandal, was used to finance all these killings.

Is this not a matter of concern for the DUP? Or the other parties here?”

Mr Adams said the issue of state killings and of collusion -- which he said was an administrative practice and part of the British Government’s strategy -- has to be dealt with.

“That British government’s refusal to co-operate with inquiries, hand over files, are all evidence of an unwillingness to end the cover-ups and to take responsibility for their actions. Exorcising the role of the British state in promoting and prolonging conflict in our country, and in the killing of citizens, is in no one’s interest - especially the families - and should not be any part of the business of this Assembly.”

Sinn Féin said it had submitted an amendment to the DUP motion seeking equality for all victims of the conflict,

Sinn Féin north Belfast representative Gerry Kelly said the Speaker’s Office had “refused” to select that amendment.

“I have no doubt questions will be asked of why it failed to be selected over the coming days,” he said.

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