British forces 'facilitated' UDA murder of Finucane
There was a significant doubt as to whether Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane would have been murdered by the UDA in February 1989 had it not been for the different strands of involvement by elements of the British state, a review into his death has found.
The 500-page report, by Sir Desmond da Silva QC, says that a series of positive actions by employees of the state "actively furthered and facilitated his murder" and there was a relentless effort to defeat the ends of justice in the aftermath of his killing.
"My review of the evidence relating to Patrick Finucane's case has left me in no doubt that agents of the State were involved in carrying out serious violations of human rights up to and including murder," it says.
Sir Desmond said he did not believe there was an "over-arching state conspiracy" to murder Mr Finucane but that "an extraordinary state of affairs was created" in which both the British army and the RUC special branch had prior notice of a series of planned UDA assassinations, yet nothing was done to prevent the attacks.
The report says there were three UDA conspiracies to murder Mr Finucane that were known to RUC special branch and or MI5. These were in 1981, 1985 and 1988/89 and on none of these occasions was Mr Finucane warned of the threat against his life.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, British prime minister David Cameron said the "shocking levels of collusion" exposed by the report was “unacceptable” and apologised to the Finucane family: “I am deeply sorry," he said.
However, he again ruled out establishing an independent public inquiry.
Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine today dismissed the report a as “a sham... a whitewash... a confidence trick” and renewed her call for a full public inquiry into her husband’s death. This report is not the truth,” she told a press conference in London.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also renewed his calls for a public inquiry, while Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil this afternoon the Government would press the case for it at every opportunity. Sinn Féin and the SDLP also backed the calls for a full independent inquiry to be held.
Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Matt Baggott said he will discuss the report with the Police Ombudsman and the Public Prosecution Service to see if more people should be held to account for the murder.
Mr Baggott announced in Belfast that he is planning talks with Ombudsman Michael Maguire and Barra McGrory, director of the PPS. “The murder should never have happened. There was a catalogue of failure which needs to be assessed to see if people should be held accountable.”
Sir Desmond found that in December 1988 MI5 received information about a "potentially serious threat to the life" of the solicitor.
"Mr Finucane was murdered by the UDA less than two months afterwards. No steps had been taken to warn him that his life was in danger or to otherwise protect him," he said