British and Irish governments’ ‘silence’ over evidence of collusion in killings criticised

Author and campaigner address NUI Galway Irish Centre for Human Rights

 Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane  was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in February 1989. Photograph: Pacemaker

Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in February 1989. Photograph: Pacemaker

Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 01:00


The “silence” of the British and Irish governments over evidence of alleged RUC and British army collusion in 120 killings on both sides of the Border has been criticised by former journalist Anne Cadwallader.

Speaking at NUI Galway yesterday, where she addressed the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Ms Cadwallader highlighted the absence of an official response from the leadership of either administration since publication of her findings four months ago.

US public opinion might not be so reticent, she said, confirming that she is embarking on a tour of north America next week where she will speak about her book, Lethal Allies .


Collusion
The book documents how 120 people were killed by loyalist paramilitaries, many of them allegedly working in collusion with the RUC and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) between 1972 and 1976.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, is investigating complaints from 24 of the families affected, since the book’s publication.

Ms Cadwallader, formerly a journalist with the BBC, RTÉ, Irish Press and Reuters and now a case worker with the Pat Finucane Centre in Belfast, drew from declassified British government official documents, and analysed RUC investigations, including previously unpublished reports prepared for families by the Historical Enquiries Team.


Targets
In all but one case, the targets were “upwardly mobile” Catholics, and at least six of the victims were linked to the SDLP, while only one had republican links, she noted in her presentation.

Ms Cadwallader is due to meet Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore later this month and has addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The sole British government response to date has been from Minister of State for Defence Anna Soubry, who said last November that the killings should be investigated “honestly, thoroughly and vigorously”, while refusing to accept the accuracy of all of the allegations.