Barrett's guilt is not enough…

Rosie Cowan returns briefly to matters Northern Ireland with words from Pat Finucane’s son Michael, who suggests Ken Barrett’s admission that he killed his father is less his concern than discovering the nature of the command and control mechanism behind the murder.

  • smcgiff

    If he’d pleaded not guilty he’d more than likely spend more time on remand than convicted jail time. How many months will he serve under early release rules?

    It I were one of the Finucanes I’d not be happy with just this guilty plea. How high up did collusion between loyalists and the state go?

  • Davros

    Aren’t we supposed to be “moving on” ?

  • smcgiff

    ‘Aren’t we supposed to be “moving on” ?’

    Yip, but it’s easy for us, but not so if we were Finucane’s children.

    However, I do differentiate between terrorist and government subversive activities.

    A subversive action by a government is 100 times worse than a subversive terrorist act.

  • peteb

    A little pre-emptive arguing, smcgiff?

    Perhaps you should’ve waited until someone made that comparison.

  • Davros

    why are Mr Finucane’s children any different from the Children of other victims who saw their parent’s killed or the parents of Children who were murdered ?

    There’s a crucial issue here …when awkward questions are asked about Victims OF republicans it’s time to move on , yet when republicans are the victims it’s NOT time to move on.
    That’s how my community see it and it needs to be addressed.

  • Fraggle

    Davros, Mr Finucane’s children are different from the Children of other victims who saw their parent’s killed or the parents of Children who were murdered because of the involvement of the state in the murder.

    We know that terrorists are bad but the state are supposed to be good. Does it not worry you that the state can be involved in the assasination of someone who makes life a bit difficult for them? Forget the whole NI background of the case for a moment. As smcgiff says, A subversive action by a government is 100 times worse than a subversive terrorist act.

    This is the sort of thing that puts catholics off joining the police. Special branch can commit murder and get away with it, even when they botch the cover up. This case needs to be settled and the people responsible in special branch (or elsewhere) gotten rid of.

  • smcgiff

    ‘why are Mr Finucane’s children any different from the Children of other victims who saw their parent’s killed or the parents of Children who were murdered ?’

    Of course they are not! I find it hard to believe how any child in the Finucane’s position would act any other way. It’s human nature.

    If any child, be they green/orange or any other colour of the rainbow, was told their father’s killer has pleaded guilty but will be out of prison in a couple of months, they would react the same way.

    ‘There’s a crucial issue here …when awkward questions are asked about Victims OF republicans it’s time to move on , yet when republicans are the victims it’s NOT time to move on.’

    Davros, are you saying your community are more forgiving and more willing to ‘move on’ than the other community? I’ve yet to see the evidence.

    Do you think it is the responsibility of one community to either call for enquiries for the other community or if one community does not call for enquiries that this should preclude the other community from calling for an enquiry? I don’t understand that argument.

    Peteb,

    ‘A little pre-emptive arguing, smcgiff?
    Perhaps you should’ve waited until someone made that comparison.’

    I’m not sure what you mean. Can one bring up the Finucane case without this allegation being implied from the outset?

  • Davros

    run these past you…

    There is nothing to suggest that Mr Finucane was murdered by the “State” … there is some evidence that he was murdered with the assistance of some functionaries of the “State” .
    This after all is a distinction that SF make about the Killers of Gerry McCabe. They were “of the IRA” but Mr McCabe was NOT murdered on the orders of the IRA….

    Secondly- the severity of the crime – I would argue that MANY people being murdered at Claudy and La mon offsets any possible increase in seriousness of the Finucane murder . Yet when we ask for an investigation into Mr Adams alleged role , it’s time to move on. When we ask for the alleged role of someone who has already been in Government to be investigated in respect of Claudy and the murders of Joanne Mathers and Frank Hegarty…. it’s time to move on.

    OK, it IS important from YOUR side of the fence that Government role be looked at .. but can you not see from MY side of the fence we also deserve answers ? That this selective moving on sticks in the craw ?

  • Davros

    Last point – at the time of all the horrific murders committed by the IRA on the “children of the nation ” SF and the IRA were claiming that THEY were the legitemate government of Ireland as the successors of 1919 Dail Éireann.
    Have they retrospectively dropped this claim which was after all one of the justifications for their campaign ?

  • smcgiff

    ‘MY side of the fence we also deserve answers’

    Absolutely!

    Stick Jerry under the brightest spot light you can find. But, for a truth and reconciliation type, ‘moving on’, then crimes have to be admitted. You can’t move on until you know what you’re leaving behind. Because then it will never be left behind in the hearts and minds of those directly affected.

    ‘There is nothing to suggest that Mr Finucane was murdered by the “State” … there is some evidence that he was murdered with the assistance of some functionaries of the “State” ‘

    If there were functionaries of the state, Army and possibly RUC, involved, then it needs to be explored whether orders from higher up were given.

    The doubt from the nationalist community is compounded by the belief that if it were just squaddies then they’d have probably looked into it by now.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Last point – at the time of all the horrific murders committed by the IRA on the “children of the nation ” SF and the IRA were claiming that THEY were the legitemate government of Ireland as the successors of 1919 Dail Éireann.
    Have they retrospectively dropped this claim which was after all one of the justifications for their campaign?’

    Just as nobody is going to stop you from saying you’re tall, dark, handsome and a demon lover, it don’t make it so” 😉

  • North Antrim Realist

    Davros makes very good points, there is no suggestion that the ‘Government’was involved in collusion to murder Finucane, the suggestion is that elements in the security services were with or without sanction. If the State had decided as they did in Loughgall to remove all terrorists from both sides with approval at the highest levels then I would have supported it… those who live by the gun can die by the gun. I don’t hear any comlaints about removing IRAqui’s terrorists in Bagdad or Al Quaedi with rockets and bombs.

    It is obvious that the IRA who see/saw themselves as combatants and an army were willing to bomb and shoot unarmed people in the back should not compain when their members were killed by a opposing army directly or inderctly.

    Draw a line in the sand at 1998 fro all and let’s get on with life and forget the points scoring.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi smcgiff/Fraggle

    “A subversive action by a government is 100 times worse than a subversive terrorist act.”

    I tend to agree. I think it’s legitimate for Nationalists to raise the issue. However, for Republicans it’s another matter – as they refer to the armed struggle as warfare. Surely, if they’re at war with a government they should expect that that government acts in a war like fashion. There aren’t too many wars were only one side is allowed to attack…

    I think tho’ what annoys unionists is the way Nationalists/Republicans conveniently ignore the input of the RoI’s government to the troubles. Considering that John Bruton, who as former Prime Minister of the RoI must have a fair idea about sensitive issues, was only last year calling for the clearing of the name of the scapegoat Captain Kelly over the Arms scandal suggests to me that the RoI government knew rightly where the money they were supplying was going. Is there any Enquiry into this? Is there fek…

  • Davros

    The Kelly thing – would love to know which 6 IRA men were allegedly to have been on a ROI Hitlist – rumbles on and on…

  • Davros

    “Hi smcgiff/Fraggle

    “A subversive action by a government is 100 times worse than a subversive terrorist act.”

    I tend to agree. I think it’s legitimate for Nationalists to raise the issue. However, for Republicans it’s another matter – as they refer to the armed struggle as warfare. Surely, if they’re at war with a government they should expect that that government acts in a war like fashion. There aren’t too many wars were only one side is allowed to attack…”

    good point.

    Now I’ll ask our nationalist friends … would this “subversive by Govt” apply to someone sitting in an executive position in Stormont ?

  • smcgiff

    Congal Claen/Davros,

    There’s a fundamental difference in our points of origin in this debate.

    I believe there was collusion in the murder of a lawyer whereas you believe there was security force involvement in the killing of a terrorist.

    From my understanding Captain Kelly was wrongly treated.

    As for enquiries – Has the DUP or the UUP ever formally asked for enquiries? If so they don’t seem to very good at following up. This is probably because they see it as external to NI, whereas the enquiries involving Finucane/Bloody Sunday etc are internal to NI.

    There are many in the North that would argue that the government of the ROI did very little while sectarianism was rampant in NI. Admittedly this is quite some time ago, but so has been the alleged (although pretty much accepted) collusion by the ROI government.

  • Davros

    “I believe there was collusion in the murder of a lawyer whereas you believe there was security force involvement in the killing of a terrorist.”

    That’s not quite correct smcgiff. I accept there MAY have been elements from the security services involved in the killing of someone who MAY or MAY NOT have been a terrorist and I resent that his death is somehow treated as more worthy of attention than the deaths of many others murdered. The McConvilles were vilified and accused of playing politics . Those who supported them were accused of grave-robbing to play politics by some of the same people who are doing exactly the same in respect of the dead Mr Finucane ……

  • Davros

    well smcgiff… SF boycotted Mr Spellars in his NI role because of things he did in the past ….

  • dave

    Whoa! State sponsored murder, is this what people are talking about when the name Finucane is mentioned?

    If this is the case, we can assume that every person murdered by SF/IRA was a case of state sponsored murder, unless you are of the opinion that the Government of the Republic of Ireland have in no way whatsoever provided help to Republican Terrorist Groups (collusion)
    SF/IRA fund raisers (collusion) GFA (collusion) putting KNOWN TERRORISTS IN GOVERNMENT. Putting those little pennies in the Jar behind the bar (collusion)

    The failing of the Intelligence service was not that they colluded with Loyalist paramilitaries, more a failing of getting caught colluding with Loyalist paramilitaries.

    It is a war of BRITS OUT is it not? what do Republicans expect?

    ANY PERSON who helps a guilty person get away with murder, knowing that the person is guilty, is no better than the murderer.
    Somewhere along the line WE ARE ALL GUILTY to one degree or another.

    Even voting for SF/IRA is collusion in terrorism.

    Did Pat Finucane deserve to die, NO, he should have been disbarred.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Did Pat Finucane deserve to die, NO, he should have been disbarred.’

    Why?

  • Millie

    Since the British govt has always denied they were fighting a war in NI, they have tried to redefine the political violence of the last 30 odd yrs as an outbreak of criminality.

    Now if Britain insists on trying individuals accused of political offences in a criminal court then the defendants must be extended the same rights as you and me, i.e. trial by jury (or in NI’s case no jury at all). Therefore the accused have the right to be defended by a LAWYER. This isn’t some strange anamoly in British law, it’s there in black and white. So if Finucane didn’t represent his clients then some poor bastard would have been assigned to them. It’s called legal aid.

    So trying to follow the logic of some of the arguments here, the assumption is that WHOEVER represents IRA men in a court of law can therefore be considered a legitimate target. No matter how terrible the offence or guilty the person may seem, they have the right to defend themselves in a court of law. To arbitrarily execute the legal defence of even the most obviously guilty, is to turn the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on it’s head.

  • willowfield

    So trying to follow the logic of some of the arguments here, the assumption is that WHOEVER represents IRA men in a court of law can therefore be considered a legitimate target. No matter how terrible the offence or guilty the person may seem, they have the right to defend themselves in a court of law. To arbitrarily execute the legal defence of even the most obviously guilty, is to turn the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on it’s head.

    Obviously Millie, but no-one here is arguing that Finucane was a “legitimate target”. I think everyone’s agreed that he – like everyone else – should not have been murdered.

    The point being made, however, is that those who do claim that some people – by virtue of working for “the enemy” – are “legitimate targets” (i.e. Provisional republicans), must logically accept the flipside, which means that others – by virtue of working for their side – must also have been “legitimate targets” for “the enemy”.

    Davros is arguing on republicans’ own terms in order to demonstrate their hypocrisy.

  • Davros

    “So trying to follow the logic of some of the arguments here, the assumption is that WHOEVER represents IRA men in a court of law can therefore be considered a legitimate target.”

    Not so Millie… that is the logic of the terrorists -see below … and apologists for terrorists eg. the SF leader. Why should a Lawyer trying to feed his family be treated differently from an RM or a Judge or a local politician or a man working for a Building company or someone who works for a catering company ?

    It’s a bit late for the likes of Adams to hold up their hands in horror and say “he was only doing his job” …. after all in THEIR eyes people like Liam Staunton and Patsie Gillespie were “legitimate targets” …that’s the hypocrisy that sticks in my craw.

    “Equally, the complex geography of religious segregation has also determined the terrain for sectarian assassination. Republicans legitimate their actions as anti-imperialist’ struggle. The legitimate targets
    of this struggle are those involved in, or associated with, the British state. The definition of legitimate targets has been almost infinitely elastic

  • Millie

    Was Finucane considered an ‘enemy’ because of his family connections to the IRA, or because he was perceived as a catholic lawyer who successfully defended the rights of political opponents to the state, at a time when the judiciary was still heavily biased towards unionism?

    If the state refuses to recognise the political context to ‘terrorists’ actions, then it means that criminal lawyers are perhaps unfairly thrust into the limelight. And if you were one of the accused wouldn’t you rather be defended by someone who actually gave a toss, instead of some lackey appointed by the very state you’re fighting against?

  • Davros

    any chance of addressing the point I raised Millie ?

    Care to justify the “judiciary was still heavily biased towards unionism” ? That’s one of the excuses I have seen for legitimising the murder of judges , a fair number of whom were Roman Catholic.

    last point… slaughtering men, women and children doesn’t count as “political” opposition in my book. Or are you going to claim that Barret was exercising HIS democratic “right” to “political ” expression when he murdered mr Finucane ?

  • willowfield

    Was Finucane considered an ‘enemy’ because of his family connections to the IRA, or because he was perceived as a catholic lawyer who successfully defended the rights of political opponents to the state, at a time when the judiciary was still heavily biased towards unionism?

    You seem to be missing the point. No-one here is saying he was an “enemy”. The argument is that if Provisional republicans claimed that those working for the “enemy” were “legitimate targets”, then logically they must accept that those working for them must have been “legitimate targets” for the enemy. Since Finucane was working for them, by their own logic he was a “legitimate target”.

  • Davros

    Such a selective society…

    Special Needs kids Bus drivers are “legitimate targets” for the RIRA because they collect children from an army base – and rent-a-mob stay silent.

    Pat Ramsey’s house – with 4 year old child inside – is petrol bombed and rent-a-mob stay silent.

  • Fraggle

    Does anyone know what is going on with the Pat Ramsey thing? It seems bizarre that he in particular is subjected to continuous attack.

  • peteb

    As well as SDLP representatives, many independent members of the DPPs have also been repeatedly attacked or threatened, Fraggle.

    Pat Ramsey has been subjected to more attacks than most because he’s also the leader of the SDLP on Derry City Council.

  • Fraggle

    that’s not the whole story. I’ve not heard about Mark Durkan’s house being attacked.

  • peteb

    Fraggle, unless you’re actually going to make an accusation you’d be better advised not to try and create any false stories.

    Along with the independent members of the DPPs, the SDLP Central Office has had devices and threats sent there, including ones addressed to Mark Durkan. Pat Ramsey has been subjected to many attacks for the reasons I’ve outlined and also because, as a locally elected councillor, he is more accessible and therefore more vulnerable to those attacks.

    Now, do you actually have a point beyond the innuendo? Or do you not think that the thugs behind these politically-motivated attacks are seeking out the easier targets?

  • Fraggle

    You’re misunderstanding me peteb. I’m not saying anything, only asking. I have no agenda and I’m not making any innuendo.

    I have noticed that in derry, pat ramsey is attacked more frequently than any other public person, sdlp or otherwise. what makes MD’s house an easier target than Pat Ramsey’s? why don’t i hear about, say, alex attwood’s house being attacked? Peteb, if there is another reason as to why PR is being attacked so much, you obviously don’t know it. I would like someone who does to answer.

    I repeat, I have no agenda. I am merely curious.

  • willowfield

    I wonder have PSF started compling a dossier of these attacks. That’s what they usually do in respect of loyalist attacks.

  • smcgiff

    At the risk of scuppering the more productive line of discussion that this thread is heading towards, I would like to ask Davros and Willowfield a question.

    You

  • willowfield

    You

  • willowfield

    For further clarity, forgive the inclusion of the word “Yes” in the last paragraph. It should just read: “I do not think …”.

  • smcgiff

    Sorry, Willowfield, I must be stupid because I cannot see how the below statements do not contradict each other.

  • Davros

    “You

  • maca

    “I endeavour to write in a clear style, so if you cannot glean my position on murder and terrorism from what I write, either you are stupid or mischievous or I will have to re-examine my writing style.”

    Twice this week that i’ve seen you’ve insinuated that someone might be stupid. A tad unfair don’t you think, especially in the case of smcgiff?

    You’re writing style is clear enough, part of the problem is your views on terrorism which are often contradictory and are not the same across the board.

  • willowfield

    smcgiff

    Sorry, Willowfield, I must be stupid because I cannot see how the below statements do not contradict each other.

    Yes, you must be stupid. The latter statement was made after the first. Therefore, when the former statement was made it was correct.

    maca

    You’re writing style is clear enough, part of the problem is your views on terrorism which are often contradictory and are not the same across the board.

    Assuming you mean “terrorism” as the word is understood in the context of Northern Ireland – the subject of this site – they’re not contradictory. Quite the opposite, they are entirely consistent.

    If they were contradictory you would be able to demonstrate it.

  • smcgiff

  • smcgiff

    Maca,

    ‘A tad unfair don’t you think, especially in the case of smcgiff?’

    Where were you when I was being bullied at school?*

    * only joking! I was very popular I was! 😉

  • maca

    My first response has disappeared into cyber space.

    WF: We have often discussed issues outside of the tiny world of NI. I was talking about “terrorism” not just IRA terrorism or whatever you want to narrow it down to.
    I could easily demonstrate the inconsistency but fortunatly for you the archives are not available.

    On reflection, it’s fortunate for me too as there is work to be done anseo.

    Smcgiff: i’m afraid I wouldn’t have been much help to you back then. 😉

  • Davros

    ahem !

  • smcgiff

    Davros,

    You yourself did not use the word ‘understand’,
    but you have gone to the trouble of mentioning that the IRA have killed what they describe as legitimate targets.*

    To bring this into the discussion implies an eye for an eye. This certainly doesn’t mean you condone it, but it does imply that the Loyalists/British Army thought they had justification.

    *You’ll have to search high and low to find where I’ve said it was legitimate for brickies or any such worker to be murdered. I know you’re not suggesting I have, but why bring it up on this thread?

    You will see on previous threads that as the IRA see British security forces as legitimate targets then I think there is very little one can say against a shoot to kill policy against terrorists.

  • smcgiff

    Loyalist gets 22 year jail term.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/0916/finucanep.html

    ‘Mrs Finucane has repeated her call for an inquiry which the Government put on hold until after the Barrett trial.’

    Despite the merrits of moving on (something I agree with) I still understand (am I using the word correctly, Willowfield?) why a member of Mr Finucane’s immediate family can call for an inquiry.

  • Davros

    because smcgiff there is a HUGE difference between discussing the rights (NONE) and wrongs of the Murder of Pat Finucane and questioning the hypocrisy and motives of politicians like Martin McGuinness who commanded an organisation that used the same criteria as the Killers of Mr Finucane.

    That is why I found SF criticism of Israel for blasting that apartment building to kill one Hamas leader so hypocritical considering THEIR attempt on the UDA that led to tragedy in the Shankill Rd.

    I haven’t suggested or sought to suggest that YOU would condone the murders of brickies etc .
    But People like Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness regarded civilians as legitimate targets.

  • Davros

    smcgiff… do you also think it reasonable for people to call for an inquiry into Gerry Adam’s alleged role in La Mon ? Martin McGuinness’ alleged role in various killings ?

  • smcgiff

    ‘because smcgiff there is a HUGE difference between discussing the rights (NONE) and wrongs of the Murder of Pat Finucane and questioning the hypocrisy and motives of politicians like Martin McGuinness who commanded an organisation that used the same criteria as the Killers of Mr Finucane.’

    There’s more than just a HUGE difference, they’re totally irrelevant to each other. I’m not for one nano -second going to suggest the SF/IRA have any moral high-ground on which to stand on, I’m supporting Mr Finucane’s immediate family the right to call for an inquiry.

    ‘That is why I found SF criticism of Israel for blasting that apartment building to kill one Hamas leader so hypocritical considering THEIR attempt on the UDA that led to tragedy in the Shankill Rd.’

    Hypocritical maybe, but correct all the same.

    ‘But People like Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness regarded civilians as legitimate targets.’
    RegardED – Note past tense. I thought it was time to move on?*

    *This of course was meant as a wind up. But I still think Mr Finucane’s immediate family have a right/duty to call for an inquiry.

  • smcgiff

    ‘smcgiff… do you also think it reasonable for people to call for an inquiry into Gerry Adam’s alleged role in La Mon ? Martin McGuinness’ alleged role in various killings ?’

    Those that were directly affected are above the ‘bigger picture’ and should of course seek a greater understanding/inquiry whatever.

    This is human nature.

  • willowfield

    smcgiff

    So, just to clarify, the object of this sentence was to confirm I listed your statements in chronological order?!?

    No. It was to demonstrate that when you said I had stated that Finucane’s murder was understandable, I had not made such a statement.

    maca

    WF: We have often discussed issues outside of the tiny world of NI. I was talking about “terrorism” not just IRA terrorism or whatever you want to narrow it down to.
    I could easily demonstrate the inconsistency but fortunatly for you the archives are not available.

    Presumably you can recall these inconsistencies without having to track down the actual threads?

    Suffice to say, in the context of NI we both know what we mean by “terrorists”, and my position is consistent.

    We may have argued in the past about definitions of terrorism and when it is or isn’t justified, if at all, but that is tangential.

  • maca

    “Presumably you can recall these inconsistencies without having to track down the actual threads?”

    I wish my memory was that good to be able to quote from any one of the thousand or so threads I have parcipitated in this year.

    “Suffice to say, in the context of NI we both know what we mean by “terrorists”, and my position is consistent.”

    As I said “terrorism”, not just NI and I find your position to be inconsistent. End of story.

  • Millie

    ‘You will see on previous threads that as the IRA see British security forces as legitimate targets then I think there is very little one can say against a shoot to kill policy against terrorists.’

    And the IRA themselves would have no qualms with such a policy either, except the British refuse to recognise the violence as politically motivated, and by extension the IRA as lawful combatants. If they did then the rules of war and the Geneva Convention would apply, which means captured IRA men must be given POW status, and cannot be prosecuted in a civilian court. But Britain has refused to recognise IRA violence as political, which means IRA members have to be accorded the same rights as all other citizens of the state.

    Think of it like this. Britain uses the criminal justice system to de-legitimise republican violence, insisting that IRA members are no different from ordinary decent criminals. Fine. But if you go down that road then you can’t implement a shoot-to-kill policy at the same time because according to the law, even IRA members have the right not to be summarily executed by the forces of the state. The British can’t have their cake and eat it, and it’s on exactly that point that republicans use the courts to their own advantage in exposing the hypocrisy of the state.

  • smcgiff

    Millie,

    I would agree with you if the IRA had limited their attacks to the British Army or even terrorists from the other side.

    Now you could argue that the Allies firebombed Dresden which would be hard pressed to be justified as a military objective (other than to terrorise).

    But, I would liken those within bomber command who sanctioned that bombing as bad as the Nazi

  • willowfield

    smcgiff

    As I said “terrorism”, not just NI and I find your position to be inconsistent. End of story.

    So you accept that, in respect of NI, my views are entirely consistent.

    Thank you.

  • willowfield

    Millie

    But Britain has refused to recognise IRA violence as political, which means IRA members have to be accorded the same rights as all other citizens of the state.

    Of course. No-one’s arguing otherwise, except republicans, and republicans are therefore hypocritical for complaining about acts of “war” against them, when they are the ones who claim it was a “war”!

    But if you go down that road then you can’t implement a shoot-to-kill policy at the same time because according to the law, even IRA members have the right not to be summarily executed by the forces of the state.

    Obviously! Nobody’s arguing in favour of a shoot-to-kill policy!

  • maca

    “So you accept that, in respect of NI, my views are entirely consistent.”

    So you accept that your views of terrorism outside of NI are inconsistent. Good to know. Thanks you.

  • smcgiff

    If you re-read, you’ll see that no thanks were necessary, Willowfield.

  • willowfield

    maca

    So you accept that your views of terrorism outside of NI are inconsistent. Good to know. Thanks you.

    No I don’t. But this discussion is about NI.

  • dave

    Fao smcgiff

    You ask “why” Pat Finucane should have been disbarred?

    Finucane should not have been killed – but he was in the IRA
    By Sean O’Callaghan
    (Filed: 18/04/2003)

    The publication of Sir John Stevens’s report into alleged collusion between security force members and loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland appears to have shocked many decent people in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

    That is, of course, more than understandable. There was always a great desire by many people to ignore the Northern Ireland “troubles”.

    The euphemistic quality of that word goes some way towards explaining the difficulties as we examine retrospectively what was in effect an undeclared war between the British state and Irish republican terrorists.

    The IRA, of course, never had a difficulty in describing its campaign as war and it conducted it ferociously, while demanding loudly that its enemies operate within the rule of law. Maybe that’s how it had to be, but I for one cannot help but feel angered at the sheer hypocrisy, the hand-wringing.

    This was a war in all but name, often a secret, squalid war against a ferocious enemy that gleefully exploited every inevitable difficulty faced by democratic states in such bizarre and legally clouded circumstances.

    How clever to be so wise, so lofty, when the great majority of the security forces carried out extraordinarily courageous work in the most dangerous of circumstances and, lest we forget, died in their hundreds to make these islands a safer and better place for all of us.

    The murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in February 1989 lay at the heart of the latest Stevens inquiry.

    There certainly appears to be enough circumstantial evidence to show a degree of collusion in his murder, and documentation has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to this. 1989 was a grim year in Northern Ireland: 81 people were killed, 57 by republicans, 19 by loyalists and two by the security forces – one of them a loyalist shot by the security forces after he had murdered a Catholic in the republican Ardoyne area.

    Twenty-six soldiers and nine policemen were murdered that year. Very few people were ever convicted and they will not be now; that is the brutal reality. The murder of Finucane, however, dominates the headlines and all the other disgusting acts scream out their silence, forgotten, it would seem, by all but close family. In death, Finucane has been wrapped in a halo. He inhabits a superior moral place, a finely honed weapon to wage war by other means against the British state and the Unionist people of Northern Ireland.

    I knew Pat Finucane reasonably well. I first met him in 1980 at a high-level IRA finance meeting in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. The meeting took place in a private room above a public house. Also present were Gerry Adams, the now-dead Tom Cahill, Pat Doherty (now the MP for West Tyrone) and several others.

    Adams and Finucane arrived together in the morning and left at lunchtime. Did Finucane introduce himself as a member of the IRA? No. Did anyone present describe him as such? No. It was, however, exclusively an IRA meeting and quite clearly, without doubt, understood to be so by all present. That is the evidence of my own eyes and ears and I stand by it today as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow.

    Of course Finucane should not have been murdered, and if it is proved that anyone played a role in that murder they should pay the price. But he was not the blameless, innocent “human rights” lawyer beloved of nationalist Ireland and the quasi-liberal chattering classes in the United Kingdom.

    He came to visit me several times in Crumlin Road prison in Belfast, where he spent much of his working life acting as a trusted conduit between the IRA prisoners and the leadership on the outside. Finucane wanted to represent me, but expressed no interest in my legal position. All he wanted to know was what I had told the police, and there is no doubt in my mind as an individual that he was acting as an IRA member and exploiting his own legal position for the benefit of that organisation.

    When an IRA member was arrested, the first person to gain access to him was usually a solicitor. The organisation on the outside was often desperate to discover if the prisoner had made any statements incriminating himself or others, had provided information on arms dumps or future IRA operations or even had been turned by the security forces.

    This was where an individual solicitor such as Finucane was invaluable to the organisation. He was different to many other lawyers who held strong political views. The renowned Belfast solicitor Paddy McCrory was undoubtedly a staunch republican, but he was a constitutionalist who demanded the highest standards from the state and never believed that the law was a weapon to be exploited by a terrorist organisation.

    Pat Finucane was first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and he exploited his position ruthlessly to wage his war on the state. In Crumlin Road, I once explained to him that I had admitted the attempted murder of a UVF member from Portadown and went into some detail.

    When I finished he looked at me with contempt on his face: “And after all that, you missed him.” Hardly what you would expect to hear from a peace-loving man who believed in the primacy of law. The last occasion I met him was in Crumlin Road about 27 hours before he was murdered: I was, in fact, the last prisoner he spoke to.

    Pat Finucane was an effective agent for the IRA. Who knows what “punishments” were exacted by the IRA as a result of his activities? Finucane did end up being murdered, but not because being a member of the IRA was immediately punishable by murder or execution – unlike being a member of the RUC , the Army, the judiciary, a civilian worker at a security force base or an agent for the state.

    Strange old “troubles”; a very strange “dirty war”. To anybody who has involved himself in Northern Ireland, none of this should come as any surprise. How Pat Finucane would laugh at his continuing effectiveness.

    Sean O’Callaghan is a former head of the IRA Southern Command and author of The Informer

  • maca

    Dave, the question was “why should Pat Finucane should have been disbarred?”

    I don’t see how your article answers that.
    Did Stevens turn up anything during his investigation? On the news a couple of days ago they said Fin wasn’t involved with the IRA … but who to believe?

  • dave

    FAO MACA

    please allow smcgiff to reply.

    Smcgiff posed a question, it was answered.

    Pat Finucane should have been disbarred at anytime he could have refused to take any case, he didn’t and paid the price.

    You live by the sword you die by the sword.

    maca catch yourself on.

  • Davros

    Dave this is an open forum. No need to be rude to Maca for contributing.

  • maca

    Dave,

    “please allow smcgiff to reply.”

    I don’t see how I prevented him from answering.

    I asked a clear question, why should he have been disbarred.
    You answered “Pat Finucane should have been disbarred”

    Good argument dude! You have me convinced there.

  • dave

    FAO maca, please read this article again, do you think this is what a “solicitor” should being doing as stated by sean O’callaghan, do you believe that any “solicitor” taking part in these sort of activities as the right to be a solicitor in the first place?

    I did answer the question put to me.

    Read the article again.

    FAO davros.

    I was not being rude, I was stating a course of action for maca to follow.

    I did answer the question put to me, maca didn’t like the answer.

    I can see no reason why sean O’callaghan would lie about Finucane, I believe this to be the truth and therefore Finucane should have been disbarred, he was a disgrace and embarrassment to the profession.

    Finucane should not have been killed – but he was in the IRA
    By Sean O’Callaghan
    (Filed: 18/04/2003)

    The publication of Sir John Stevens’s report into alleged collusion between security force members and loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland appears to have shocked many decent people in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

    That is, of course, more than understandable. There was always a great desire by many people to ignore the Northern Ireland “troubles”.

    The euphemistic quality of that word goes some way towards explaining the difficulties as we examine retrospectively what was in effect an undeclared war between the British state and Irish republican terrorists.

    The IRA, of course, never had a difficulty in describing its campaign as war and it conducted it ferociously, while demanding loudly that its enemies operate within the rule of law. Maybe that’s how it had to be, but I for one cannot help but feel angered at the sheer hypocrisy, the hand-wringing.

    This was a war in all but name, often a secret, squalid war against a ferocious enemy that gleefully exploited every inevitable difficulty faced by democratic states in such bizarre and legally clouded circumstances.

    How clever to be so wise, so lofty, when the great majority of the security forces carried out extraordinarily courageous work in the most dangerous of circumstances and, lest we forget, died in their hundreds to make these islands a safer and better place for all of us.

    The murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in February 1989 lay at the heart of the latest Stevens inquiry.

    There certainly appears to be enough circumstantial evidence to show a degree of collusion in his murder, and documentation has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to this. 1989 was a grim year in Northern Ireland: 81 people were killed, 57 by republicans, 19 by loyalists and two by the security forces – one of them a loyalist shot by the security forces after he had murdered a Catholic in the republican Ardoyne area.

    Twenty-six soldiers and nine policemen were murdered that year. Very few people were ever convicted and they will not be now; that is the brutal reality. The murder of Finucane, however, dominates the headlines and all the other disgusting acts scream out their silence, forgotten, it would seem, by all but close family. In death, Finucane has been wrapped in a halo. He inhabits a superior moral place, a finely honed weapon to wage war by other means against the British state and the Unionist people of Northern Ireland.

    I knew Pat Finucane reasonably well. I first met him in 1980 at a high-level IRA finance meeting in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. The meeting took place in a private room above a public house. Also present were Gerry Adams, the now-dead Tom Cahill, Pat Doherty (now the MP for West Tyrone) and several others.

    Adams and Finucane arrived together in the morning and left at lunchtime. Did Finucane introduce himself as a member of the IRA? No. Did anyone present describe him as such? No. It was, however, exclusively an IRA meeting and quite clearly, without doubt, understood to be so by all present. That is the evidence of my own eyes and ears and I stand by it today as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow.

    Of course Finucane should not have been murdered, and if it is proved that anyone played a role in that murder they should pay the price. But he was not the blameless, innocent “human rights” lawyer beloved of nationalist Ireland and the quasi-liberal chattering classes in the United Kingdom.

    He came to visit me several times in Crumlin Road prison in Belfast, where he spent much of his working life acting as a trusted conduit between the IRA prisoners and the leadership on the outside. Finucane wanted to represent me, but expressed no interest in my legal position. All he wanted to know was what I had told the police, and there is no doubt in my mind as an individual that he was acting as an IRA member and exploiting his own legal position for the benefit of that organisation.

    When an IRA member was arrested, the first person to gain access to him was usually a solicitor. The organisation on the outside was often desperate to discover if the prisoner had made any statements incriminating himself or others, had provided information on arms dumps or future IRA operations or even had been turned by the security forces.

    This was where an individual solicitor such as Finucane was invaluable to the organisation. He was different to many other lawyers who held strong political views. The renowned Belfast solicitor Paddy McCrory was undoubtedly a staunch republican, but he was a constitutionalist who demanded the highest standards from the state and never believed that the law was a weapon to be exploited by a terrorist organisation.

    Pat Finucane was first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and he exploited his position ruthlessly to wage his war on the state. In Crumlin Road, I once explained to him that I had admitted the attempted murder of a UVF member from Portadown and went into some detail.

    When I finished he looked at me with contempt on his face: “And after all that, you missed him.” Hardly what you would expect to hear from a peace-loving man who believed in the primacy of law. The last occasion I met him was in Crumlin Road about 27 hours before he was murdered: I was, in fact, the last prisoner he spoke to.

    Pat Finucane was an effective agent for the IRA. Who knows what “punishments” were exacted by the IRA as a result of his activities? Finucane did end up being murdered, but not because being a member of the IRA was immediately punishable by murder or execution – unlike being a member of the RUC , the Army, the judiciary, a civilian worker at a security force base or an agent for the state.

    Strange old “troubles”; a very strange “dirty war”. To anybody who has involved himself in Northern Ireland, none of this should come as any surprise. How Pat Finucane would laugh at his continuing effectiveness.

    Sean O’Callaghan is a former head of the IRA Southern Command and author of The Informer

  • maca

    Dave, just to correct an error in your response:

    “I did answer the question put to me, maca didn’t like the answer.”

    The problem is you didn’t answer the question. You answered:
    “Pat Finucane should have been disbarred at anytime he could have refused to take any case, he didn’t and paid the price.
    You live by the sword you die by the sword.”

    …none of which answers WHY.

    I’m not trying to claim the man was a saint or anything, I simply asked WHY because unlike you I won’t condemn him on the word of a convicted terrorist. And I certainly won’t try to justify his murder as you seem to be doing.

  • Davros

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t most, if not all, of the “case” for collusion based on the word of Convicted terrorists such as Barret, Nelson and Stobie ?

  • maca

    I think there’s more to it than that, at least that’s my understanding from what i’ve read on the enquiry.

  • Davros

    It’s what they started with Maca. So, there should be an equally thorough inquiry into allegations made by People like O’Callaghan.

  • Davros

    Come to think of it, how about Scap’s allegations that serious crimes were carried out on SF premises ? Shouldn’t they be investigated ?

  • maca

    Oh they should be investigated of course Davros, I just won’t hang a man based on that information alone, that’s all i’m saying.

  • Davros

    ” I just won’t hang a man based on that information alone”

    Now don’t be mistaking me for Andy McCann mo chara!

  • maca

    Don’t worry D, no fear of that 😉

  • smcgiff

    Dave,

    Apologies for the late response. Not been around for the last few days.

    I

  • dave

    Most will know that i am not a daily (poster) I work hard for a living.

    As for Pat Finucane “solicitor” and why he should have been disbarred? I think the statement made by Sean O’Callaghan (a former IRA terrorist) gives an indication has to what type of “solicitor” Pat Finucane was.

    Is this World we live in now a better due to his absence? probably.

    The truth always comes out in the end.

  • maca

    “The truth always comes out in the end.”

    Yeah, lets hope so Dave.