Irish Republican News · December 14, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Cables point to MI5’s collusion files

Calls for an independent international inquiry into the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane have been renewed after documents revealed British military intelligence offered to hand over secret files on the killing.

Mr Finucane was gunned down by a UDA murder gang in front of his wife at children, in his north Belfast home in 1989.

He was shot 14 times, in what remains one of the most controversial murders of the conflict.

His family wants an independent inquiry into evidence of collusion between the loyalist killers and British forces.

According to documents published by Wikileaks and the London Guardian newspaper, former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told US diplomats that “everyone knows the UK was involved” in the murder.

The diplomats correctly deduced in 2005 that “elements of the security-legal establishments” in Britain were attempting to block an inquiry.

But the existence of the MI5 files has fuelled new calls for the British government to finally fulfil long-standing promises to hold an inquiry.

In a cable from June 2005, written by the US ambassador to Dublin, James C Kenny, which reported on a meeting between the head of MI5 and Mitchell Reiss, the US special envoy to Ireland.

In an account of the meeting between Reiss and Ahern, the ambassador wrote: “Reiss briefed him on his talks in London, including with the head of MI5 [Eliza Manningham-Buller], who committed to turning over all evidence her agency has to the inquiry but she was adamant that the inquiry will proceed using the new legislation.”

At the time, the British government was working to change the laws under which inquiries are held in order to prevent the release of state secrets or any information which would be damaging to British interests.

Calling for full disclosure of all information about Mr Finucane’s killing, SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said: “This acknowledgement that MI5 have files on the case raises a number of important issues. Firstly, the very fact they have files on the Finucane case begs the question why do they have them and what is in them?

“And secondly there are further questions to be asked why MI5 are in possession of intelligence that perhaps the PSNI are not.”

Ms Ritchie added: “The SDLP will always remain vigilant about any partial disclosure or attempts to suppress information or clean files prior to publication, as this is a distinct possibility under current legislation.

“The SDLP’s priority is for the Finucane family to get the truth and justice they seek and deserve. The only way to achieve this is for full disclosure of any relevant information to the case.

“A censored inquiry will not be accepted.”

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly said that the reports gave further weight to the family’s campaign for a full inquiry.

“The British State has to date never acknowledged holding files and information into the murder of Pat Finucane. Instead they have hidden behind a long standing campaign of concealment and cover-up,” he said.

“The revelations that MI5 are holding files directly related to the murder of Pat Finucane and that the Inquiries Act 2005 was initiated at their insistence, to prevent the truth from being revealed, adds significant further weight to the family demand for a fully independent international inquiry into the murder.

“That is what the British government agreed and that is what the British government must deliver.”

Amnesty international has said that revelations strengthen the case for an independent public inquiry.

“The UK government’s failure to hold a properly independent inquiry into the killing of a prominent lawyer in this country is outrageous and with each day that passes and each new revelation that comes to light, that failure becomes yet more outrageous.”

“Over 20 years on from the murder of Patrick Finucane, the truth about his killing is still being kept from his family and from the public. The UK government should establish an independent public inquiry without any further delay.”

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