Report on Finucane murder examined
Ms Villiers said during the course of the Finucane Review, the Government submitted to
the team some material that was relevant to its work but which was too sensitive to be disclosed publicly.
She said this was usually because it contained information which had been provided to the security forces by individuals.
“If those individuals or others could be identified from information contained in the report it would endanger their lives,” she stated.
“I understand that the review does not intend to refer to any material which would constitute a breach of Article 2, or compromise national security, but I have a duty to satisfy myself before publication that none of this material has inadvertently been revealed in the report.
“The review also agreed that the identities of a small number of individuals who were engaged on highly sensitive duties should not be disclosed and I need to be assured that these individuals and others whose lives could be endangered have not been identified.”
Ms Villiers said the security experts would be granted access to the report under strict terms of confidentiality and for the sole purpose of carrying out the necessary checks.
She said they would report directly to her alone.
“Sir Desmond de Silva has agreed that this team can carry out the necessary checks on the Review’s premises while the report remains in his custody, before it is submitted to me,” she said.
“I have confirmed to Sir Desmond de Silva that I am content with this proposal. I understand that the report will be made available for checking today.
“I believe that these checks are necessary in order to meet the legal obligations on me.”
She added: “I want to publish the report in its entirety. Should any concerns about the safety of any individual arise, my first course of action would be to consider whether these can be addressed through alternative means.
"Were I to reach the conclusion, on advice, that a redaction to the text might be necessary, I would consult Sir Desmond de Silva. In the unlikely event that any redaction was deemed necessary, my intention would be to make this clear on the face of the report.
“Once the checking process has been completed I will make another statement to this House regarding its outcome and announcing the date of publication. The report must be published first for this House, and I intend to publish the report as soon as possible once the checking process has been completed.”