Controversial killer released…

KEN Barrett, the man convicted of murdering solicitor Pat Finucane, has been released today after serving less than three years of a life sentence. Finucane’s murder was one of the most significant of the entire Troubles, leading to accusations that the State had colluded with loyalist terrorists.

  • Pace the headline, can we agree that ‘killer released controversy’ would have been okay, whilst ‘controversial killer released’ reeks of tautology? Killing = controversial, shurely even in Agreementised Norn Iron?

  • heck

    “leading to accusations that the State had colluded with loyalist terrorists”

    it’nt that like

    “leading to accusations that the pope is catholic”

    I think by now it is a fact that “the State had colluded with loyalist terrorists”


    I think the real story is not so much that this man was released, but the claims that the Secretary of State opposed the release.

    Upon what grounds did Hain seek to keep Barret in jail?

  • Overhere

    what I would like to know is how come he only spent three years of a life sentence was this for good behaviour? what is the life sentence period these days anyway.

    Or do they think he might “suddenly” take ill and keel over therefore closing a little gap unfortunately Hain was not privy to this and so could not see why he was being released.

    If this is controversial then I apologise just the first thing that crossed my mind.

  • GAK

    He wasn’t the trigger man.

  • I’ll bite. Hain lets him out: it’s the Briddish gozerment looking after its own state murderers. Hain opposes letting him out: it’s still wrong! Briddish state collusion murderers must be released, just like our murderers!

    This is religious thinking, frankly. You can’t oppose both of two mutually incompatible statements…whoops. Oh yes you can. You just have to ditch any claims to intellectual integrity you may have had.

  • Greg McGrath

    He wont survive out in the wild.

  • bertie

    One more mudering bastard on the streets, how lovely!

  • Jacko

    Merely the outworkings of the accelerated release scheme vis a vis the GFA.
    In that context, it would have been controversial if he hadn’t been released.
    Unless, that is, we want to try and differentiate between good murdering bastards and bad murdering bastards.
    We can all think of people that we would prefer had been kept banged up.
    But it was part of the deal – one out, all out.
    Get over it.

  • bertie

    “Get over it”

    I can think of very few circumstances where this is an intelligent instruction. Perhaps something like, “that bull is advancing in your direction at reat speed there is no time for you to reach the gate. There is the fence. Get over it.”

    Otherwise it has little to recommend it.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Jacko: “Merely the outworkings of the accelerated release scheme vis a vis the GFA.
    In that context, it would have been controversial if he hadn’t been released.”

    Comme ci, comme ca. If he had been retained in an English jail, his release would be controversial. It was not until he was transferred to an Irish prison that keeping him was a problem.

  • bertie

    “One more mudering bastard on the streets, how lovely!”

    I trust you voted against this abomination back in ’98 …

  • overhere

    “what I would like to know is how come he only spent three years of a life sentence was this for good behaviour? what is the life sentence period these days anyway.”

    Thanks to the Good Friday Agreement one can get away with murder (save a few months care of HM) in Northern Ireland.

  • bertie


    I campaigned against it rather vigourously.

  • canadian

    Meanwhile the BBC are reporting that Peter Hain says that some people may possibly serve jail time as a result of the investigations into the unsolved murders.


    Again, my issue is with the claim that the Secretary of State tried to prevent the release.

    I would like to know upon which grounds.This is a man convicted of murder, and if someone felt he should have been kept in jail I want to know why, indeed I think it is in the public interest to know why.
    On the other hand, if the Secretary of State was playing silly buggers in order to appease some faction or other, I also think it would be good to know why.

  • Rory

    This man’s sentence falls under the conditions of the GFA and accordingly, whatever one’s sensibilities, is unremarkable and, given that an overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland, north and south, and an overwhelming majority of the House of Commons, all voted in acceptance of all of the conditions of that agreement, there can be no strong protest against his release.

    Why the release of this individual is remarkable and why it has been a subject of importance in today’s news (number two story on Radio 4’s 6pm news) is because of the collusion of British security forces in Mr Finucane’s murder and other murders and the wider question of the whole area of Crown Forces’ collusion in and possible instigation of the assassination of catholics by loyalist criminal elements.

    The story of the release will quickly fade. The story of the deeper darker elements surrounding the murder of Mr Finucane (and many, many others) will not and the BBC and other sections of the liberal establishment press carry the story of this man’s release only in order to cover their asses as having demonstrated care at the time.

    So, nothing new there then.

  • missfitz

    That was pretty much the view of the family when interviewe earlier here, the issue being the underlying collusion and not the actual individuals.

    Just finished watching Spotlight, and it underscores the fact that this has been a dirty war indeed, with no one above being taken out as a target when circumstances dictated.

    Indefensible stuff.

  • big word

    Raymond McCord Snr should be commended for his campaign to expose the uvf/special branch murder of his son and others.

    Perhaps Reg Empey & Davey Irvine will release a joint statement on the topics discussed on tonight’s Spotlight programme.

  • Rory

    Yes, indeed, MissFitz, I heard the father on R4 and was pleased that the family perspective is so clear as indeed I would have expected.

    Some version of the truth of the full extent of state policy on such murder will slowly, eventually leak out and then in about 15 years hence there will be an article, a book and a tv documentary on a barely watched channel and there will be smug self congratulation all round. Meantime, of course, they will be doing much the same thing to some other people, somewhere else for some other rotten reason.

    Goodnight, MissFitz. Sleep well.

  • elfinto

    Unfortunately, BBC Spotlight does not appear to be available on the Internet. What was the subject of tonight’s programme?

  • Rubicon

    MissFitz – am I to understand that you are suggesting the “situation” absolved the individual from being held to account?

    You suggested I go for a walk and take in the sun. I did.

    It’s late now, can I suggest you howl at the moon?

  • Jo

    “He was not the trigger man.”

    It wasnt Stobie?

    Well, he confessed to being just that on tape to Jonty Brown. What was the evidence presented to convict him?

    Hes one BAD guy.