Cameron’s decision on Finucane case insults family, betrays us all

When a lawyer is murdered in any country, it should be a matter of great public concern, seen rightly as an attack on the entire legal system.

When there is clear evidence pointing towards the collusion of a range of agents of the State in that murder, then the mood should become one of national outrage.

When the killing, alleged collusion and cover-up is happening not in Latin America or Russia, but within the UK, then one might expect that the response of the democratically-elected government would be to investigate quickly and thoroughly and root out any and all State agents who have infected the system with murder.

Tragically, that would be an expectation not borne out by the actions of successive governments over the last twenty-plus years.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision, announced today to the family, to reject an effective, independent, public inquiry into the events surrounding the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane should therefore, perhaps, come as no surprise. For he is only following the example set by previous UK governments, Conservative and Labour, in preferring to avoid the scrutiny that such a proper investigation would bring.

The Finucane family have been cruelly left to twist in the wind, having been strung along by Secretary of State Owen Paterson for the last year. His public utterances, suggesting that he would be offering inquiry proposals satisfactory to the Finucane family, led to reports that the UK government was prepared to offer a Baha Mousa-style Inquiry, held under the Inquiries Act 2005, but with assurances not to use the iniquitous powers reserved to Ministers to withhold evidence from the hearings.

Instead, the knife was twisted a little further today, with Cameron and Paterson instead announcing a toothless review of the case files by eminent QC (and ‘loyal Conservative’, according to Conor Burns MP, once of this parish) Sir Desmond DeSilva.

The decision was rightly branded an “insult” by Mr Finucane’s widow, Geraldine, who has conducted her decades-long campaign for justice with remarkable dignity and forebearance.

But it is more than an insult to a widow. It is a profound betrayal of every single one of us who have long held onto a belief in justice and the rule of law.

(For those who need a refresher in this too-long-running saga, there’s some background to the case here, courtesy of Amnesty and some more, courtesy of the BBC’s  Mark Devenport, here.)

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  • Limerick

    Alias,

    When they were warned they complained about it.

    “Whereas, on Thursday evening, 6 April 2000, the entire Sinn Féin party membership on the Belfast City Council and the Lisburn Borough Council as well as other Sinn Féin political figures were advised by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), the police force of Northern Ireland, that they were the targets of death threats made by paramilitary loyalists and were being actively stalked

    http://republican-news.org/archive/2000/April27/27usmo.html

    It is hard to accept that they were not being protected when the prisons were jam packed with loyalist prisoners.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Except that Uncles do not qualify as immediate family.

    Who says “immediate family” ? I googled around and saw reference only to “relatives”.

    Given that it is a matter of public record that Finucane’s brother was in the IRA, and that the Finucane family have denied that Pat was an IRA man, doesn’t it make sense to give them the benefit of the doubt ?

    I mean, it’s not as if Finucane got an IRA funeral.

    All you’re doing here is scrabbling around trying to find some strands of proof to back up something you can’t support. To what end ?

  • Turgon

    Patrick Corrigan,
    “I regard the murder of lawyers as an attack on the legal system”

    This is simply incorrect. You may regard this particular murder of Mr. Finucane as “an attack on the legal system” you may feel the same about various other murders of lawyers. However, any murder of a lawyer is not necessarily “an attack on the legal system” if the murder is because the lawyer is a lawyer maybe fair enough (and in Mr. Finucane’s case that may well be correct).

    However, not all lawyers who end up getting murdered are murdered for anything to do with their jobs. As the example I quoted at the start illustrates Linda Blackwell was a lawyer and was murdered by an acquaintance: her being a lawyer had no relevance to her murder.

    The idea that persons from a given group are always murdered for the same reasons is simply silly. The same is true of police officers. The murder of Trevor Buchanan had nothing to do with an attack on the rule of law per se: it was simply murder.

    Equally the killing of surgeons Michael Masser and Kenneth Paton at Pinderfields Hospital in 1990 by Laith Alan was not an attack on the medical profession: it was a mentally ill man killing two people who happened to be doctors.

    You do not advance your argument by foolish generalisations.

  • Limerick

    Comrade Stalin,

    During that event only four members per dead terrorist were allowed to attend due to lack of space. The IRA have a long tradition of not claiming all of their dead so the lack of an IRA funeral does not prove anything.

    In the course of this thread it was claimed that Finucane was a ‘human rights’ lawyer, and that there was no evidence to suggest that he was linked to PIRA. I am merely pointing out that there is such evidence if you look for it.

  • Limerick

    Turgon,

    Perhaps more pertinently the murder of Edgar Graham was carried out simply because PIRA recognised him as a talented potential future unionist leader. A murder which would have had to be cleared at Army Council level.

  • Jimmy Sands

    During that event only four members per dead terrorist were allowed to attend due to lack of space.

    And were attendees advised that they should book right away to avoid disappointment? Pretty incriminating stuff.

  • Limerick

    And were attendees advised that they should book right away to avoid disappointment? Pretty incriminating stuff.

    Jimmy,

    It took the Provos a year to set the whole thing up, so presumably the relatives did indeed have to book their places.

    I agree with you about it being pretty incriminating stuff. The family of a peace loving human rights lawyer wouldn’t want to be within a hundred miles of a celebration like that.

  • Jimmy Sands

    A man not yet forty was murdered in a particularly savage attack in which his wife was also shot and his young children forced to watch their father die. I suspect my views as to his political outlook are little different to yours and yet I simply fail to understand your apparent need to smear the deceased on what strikes me as the flimsiest of (let’s call it) evidence. If for the sake of argument, you were proved right, what satisfaction would it give you?

  • Comrade Stalin

    During that event only four members per dead terrorist were allowed to attend due to lack of space.

    Every time I question an assertion of yours – such as the earlier one where you said “close relatives only” – you back down.

    Would you please do us a favour and stop wrapping your arguments in innuendo and half-truths ?

  • BluesJazz

    I cann’t find the amnesty report on the sectarian murder of Edgar Graham, and the assault on the legal system it represented online anywhere. perhaps Patrick Corrigan can point us to the relevant link.

  • Alias

    “It is hard to accept that they were not being protected when the prisons were jam packed with loyalist prisoners.” – Limerick

    That’s public measure of state sectarianisn via its policing institutions. The British state learned a lesson about public relations after Operation Demetrius. The RUC’s Special Branch drew up a list containing the names of 450 persons who were to be interned, but not a single loyalist was included on the list.

    The RUC’s Special Branch “Threats Book” is a private measure of state sectarianisn via its policing institutions so it is devoid of the need for ‘balance’ in the matter of public relations and therefore offers a better picture of the reality of state sectarianism.

    As Judge Peter Cory remarked: “This discrepancy in the treatment of PIRA and UDA targets may be indicative of a selective, perhaps subconscious, bias on the part of the Special Branch. It may well be that only a portion of the population was receiving effective protection against the threat of terrorist violence.”

    It is a fact that only one Catholic was warned by the RUC’s Special Branch during the entire period that a threat against his life existed.

    Given that all such threats gained via intelligence would be recorded in the Threats Book before “any action taken to respond to or divert the threat” could be taken, the 207 agents arrested by Lord Stevens in his enquiry into the same matters were used exclusively to save Protestant life – that is when they weren’t busy murdering Catholics and Protestants alike with the protection of the state’s security services.

  • Alias

    One other point about alleged threats to Shinners: if it isn’t recorded in the Threats Book then it doesn’t exist. The Shinners like to claim that their lives are in danger for political reasons, and the police might well help them out on occasion for the same reasons.

    It’s also possible that individual police officers would tell a person that his or her life is in danger where no such threat exists and would do so as part of a psychological operation.

    But the fact remains: if it isn’t recorded in the Threats Book then it doesn’t exist as information gained from these agents.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Newfound respect for Cameron for standing up to the Finucanes’ bullying.

  • orly

    Mainland Ulsterman
    Newfound respect for Cameron for standing up to the Finucanes’ bullying.

    Sometimes it’s helpful to have a posh Englishman around to tell the undesirables to bugger off.

  • Alias

    “Newfound respect for Cameron for standing up to the Finucanes’ bullying.” – Mainland Ulsterman

    Yes, because the prime minister is the innocent victim here and so much more worthy of our respect than a woman who has fought for 21 long and painful years to bring her husband’s murderers to justice.

    “Sometimes it’s helpful to have a posh Englishman around to tell the undesirables to bugger off.” – orly

    That comment is pure sectarianism.

  • Nunoftheabove

    BluesJazz

    In that case can I suggest to you that you don’t understand what Amnesty International is for, what it does and why it does what it does.

  • Limerick

    If for the sake of argument, you were proved right, what satisfaction would it give you?

    Jimmy,

    Simply the satisfaction of righting a wrong. You are interested in the truth aren’t you? Rather than the narrative that suits your views.

  • Limerick

    Comrade Stalin,

    The event was limited to the immediate family members of dead Provos due to lack of space for all the other hangers on. As I said earlier the Provos had a policy of not naming all of their dead at the time of their deaths and that policy was exposed at the Tirghrah celebrations.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/may/19/bloodysunday.northernireland

    Perhaps in the fullness of time they will be able to claim all of their dead. After they have served their purposes obviously.

  • Limerick

    Alias,

    I can’t comment on the ‘Threats’ book as I don’t know anything about it beyond what you are telling us here. It is a fact though that in the early eighties the RUC brought loyalist violence to almost a complete halt by locking up large swathes of their membership via the Supergrass system. Hardly the actions of a police force which was working hand in glove with them. A system btw which people like Finucane did much to destroy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You are interested in the truth aren’t you?

    Limerick,

    For a person with a concern for the truth you seem to have grave difficulty sticking to it in order to advance your arguments. You exaggerate, use innuendo and suggestion to hint at a conclusion and then deny you were doing so, and you even contradict yourself within hours. You bend quotations or events fantastically to fit whatever argument you are trying to make.

    If you had confidence in the truth it would not be necessary for you to lie about things in the way that you have been shown to in the course of this discussion. You are a hypocrite.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I have to agree with Alias on that one. Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his wife and children at the breakfast table. To describe their desire for the truth about what happened as “bullying” is callous in the extreme. There is a debate to be had about exactly how this matter should be solved, but the family have a right to know the truth.

    Slugger has a hell of a lot of brave men posting nasty, spiteful bile from the comfort of their keyboards and anonymous handles.

  • orly

    Alias

    “That comment is pure sectarianism.”

    Bull. I’d dispense with this “inquiry culture” in it’s entirity. Couldn’t give 2 squirts of piss who is calling for them.

  • galloglaigh

    Turgon

    This is simply incorrect

    When the state is implicated in the murder of a lawyer, then it is the states job to investigate an attack on the judicial system. For them to not investigate Finucane’s murder, proves that they have something to hide.

  • galloglaigh

    In the course of this thread it was claimed that Finucane was a ‘human rights’ lawyer, and that there was no evidence to suggest that he was linked to PIRA. I am merely pointing out that there is such evidence if you look for it

    And of course you have seen the evidence that says Finucane was linked to the Provos?

    Sometimes I do laugh at you. Like I said before, the proof is in the name – Limerick.

    Why do you continue to post false truths, without backing up your ridiculous claims? It makes you look foolish.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Comrade Stalin,
    “To describe their desire for the truth about what happened as “bullying” is callous in the extreme.”

    I wasn’t describing their *desire* for the truth about what happened as bullying – I was describing their *tactics and approach* as bullying. I know this might offend some people who feel any victim of the Troubles should be completely free from criticism. But the Finucanes have worn out the patience and sympathy of a lot of people. We can have human sympathy for their loss and still feel they should consider the feelings of other victims in the way they pursue their case.

    The PM, though I don’t like him much, is the (kind of) democratically-elected leader of the nation and on the rare occasions he weighs into legal process, he has to be even-handed. The Finucanes suffered an awful crime, as did many other families of terror victims, but I would be very concerned if their pressure was able to force the PM into according them special treatment. And yes I do think they have been trying to take moral high ground here in their campaign in a way which victims of the Republican terror campaign find galling.

    Many people are a bit sick of Republicans’ warped sense of victimhood (their killing-to-being-killed ratio was 16 times – sixteen times – that of the security forces) dictating which incidents in the Troubles are worthy of the time and cost of full public enquiries. Given the Finucane family have also been strong supporters terrorism and have the Republican machine behind them, I don’t think bullying is too strong a word. Of course it’s nothing compared to what happened to them. But it is still not right.

    I do still have some sympathy with them though and they do deserve to know the truth. What happened was of course completely wrong and state involvement in it deeply worrying too. But after massive overspend of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry – universally accepted as something we cannot afford to for every case – and given where we are economically, they can’t just go charging in demanding an inquiry at all costs, as if it is the only approach possible.

    I don’t appreciate their branding Cameron as morally heinous for being the one to point this out to them. I do think that is a bullying approach. It’s the less strident victims that they are bullying out of a fair crack at justice and Cameron, though hardly deserving much sympathy, is actually obliged to consider them. And I’m glad he did.

  • Jimmy Sands

    The PM, though I don’t like him much, is the (kind of) democratically-elected leader of the nation and on the rare occasions he weighs into legal process, he has to be even-handed.

    Jerry Sadowitz opened his tv show with the line “Tonight. Nazis and Jews: Who’s right?”

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Jimmy,
    I totally agree – love Sadowitz – the truth is not be found by looking for the halfway point between reasonable views and extreme views. Tends to be among the reasonable views.

  • Barnshee

    Message D Cameron should send

    1 If you want an inquiry go to the NI assembly -get them to pay for it

    2 Any bombs damage etc in GB and the costs of repair/compensation come out of the block grant

    3 If you want more money raise it yourself

    4 If you don`t like it foxtrot oscar

  • Limerick

    Limerick,

    For a person with a concern for the truth you seem to have grave difficulty sticking to it in order to advance your arguments. You exaggerate, use innuendo and suggestion to hint at a conclusion and then deny you were doing so, and you even contradict yourself within hours. You bend quotations or events fantastically to fit whatever argument you are trying to make.

    If you had confidence in the truth it would not be necessary for you to lie about things in the way that you have been shown to in the course of this discussion. You are a hypocrite.

    I was under the impression that there was some sort of ball not man rule in place on Slugger?

  • Limerick

    And of course you have seen the evidence that says Finucane was linked to the Provos?

    Golloglaigh,

    Evidence that Finucane was linked to the Provos is all over this thread.

  • If what is prevalent on this thread is considered to be “evidence”, I’m glad I’ll never have to face a N.I. jury of sluggerites.

  • Limerick

    Joe,

    I’ve seen people here argue that the UVF was set up by unionist politicians on the ‘evidence’ that Gusty Spence said they were. I’ve seen ‘evidence’ that David Ervine knew the colour of unionist politician’s wall paper because he said so. If we are now saying that evidence must be of courtroom standard then can we at least apply the rule equally across the board?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Limerick and Joe,
    It’s not ‘evidence’ of course. But there is a point here – would the inquiry look into Finucane’s own involvement with the murder gangs or would it only look at how he met his own end? I genuinely don’t know what the remit would be; but I’m guessing the family aren’t going to want the full story to come out or even be investigated.

    You could say it is irrelevant what his involvement was in the terrorist campaign as regards the murder itself – and that’s true. But let’s not be naive here – this case is being used by many to make a But an “inquiry” is supposed to be different from a murder trial: it has to explain, not just decide and it goes into the background and circumstances of an incident in a way that you don’t in court. While, let’s be clear, his killing was as appalling as any other, in reality people do make moral distinctions between people involved in terrorism and innocent people.

    And this is what we’re struggling with here. Not whether he should have been killed – obviously not – or were there rogue state actors involved – obviously yes, this is already admitted – but who was this guy? I’m talking about the wider public meaning of his life and death here: how it is understood in wider culture. If he really was a genuinely neutral human rights lawyer with no terrorist connections, then the man should perhaps be hailed as a hero of the Troubles – and I personally would be happy to have my child taught in school that he was a good man and one of the symbols of hope in a dark period. I do mean that as a former solicitor myself. His supporters are holding him up to be just such a person.

    Now, I don’t know either way, but there are some serious allegations about him which have not been answered convincingly. I genuinely don’t know how I should feel about him. Beacon of justice or one of the bad guys: we just don’t know. But he can’t be held up as a hero and escape scrutiny as to what kind of man he was. We do need to know what his position in our cultural memory should be.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    apologies for the 2nd para, 2nd sentence – should have read “this case is being used by many to make a wider political point”

  • galloglaigh

    Evidence that Finucane was linked to the Provos is all over this thread

    So that’s evidence then. Again, you make yourself look silly. I guess you just put it into perspective, when you talk about the UVF, Gusty Spence, and David Ervine. All the ‘evidence’ is hearsay, and proves absolutely nothing.

    Whether or not Finucane was in the Provos, it does not give anyone the right to shoot him in his own home, surrounded by his family. If the Tory government had acted properly, they would not have allowed the security forces to run around using agents to take out their ‘enemies’. That my friend, is as bad as the actions of the PIRA. Or indeed any of the political and paramilitary groups that were involved in political conflict the last forty years.

  • galloglaigh

    Finucane’s own involvement with the murder gangs…

    His involvement was in the capacity of his job. If you know otherwise, I suggest you contact the Tory QC, and produce your evidence. You should look at your own hose (unionism), to seek out the involvement that block group has had with loyal murder gangs, and how they helped import the weapons that, not only killed Finucane, but hundreds of other innocent Catholics (many due to false evidence passed on by the security forces, to the loyal soldiers of Ulster).

  • galloglaigh

    A very good point was made on Hearts and Minds last night. This review will be seen as the new Widgery. That is a fair analysis in my view.

  • lamhdearg

    “A very good point was made on Hearts and Minds last night. This review will be seen as the new Widgery”
    galloglaigh, surely that should read “to some/many (insert a word here) this review will be seen as the new Widgery”.
    otherwise the “very good point” is moot.

  • Mark

    It seems that some of the orange rumpoles on this site who claim to have practiced law seem to have forgotten how it works . A ten year old with a box set of CSI has more understanding . There’s a little thing called lawyer / client privilege . Any lawyer / barrister worth their salt leaves the emotion out in the corridor . That’s what barristers do …..

    Is it because Pat Finucane was pictured in a tailored suit as opposed to a boiler suit ?

    What evidence is there apart from Sean O Callaghan ?? An IRA finance meeting …… O Callaghan says earlier 80’s . How early ? The hungerstrikes were 80 /81 . Didn’t Pat Finucane have clients in Long Kesh ? Could he not have been interviewing people ?

    How come he was never arrested ? Most people suspected of terrorism get picked up …. get their collars felt . How come he didn’t . Was it becuase the RUC knew he couldn’t be intimidated or was it because they didn’t have anything on him .

    It seems a few posters here forgot that Geraldine Finucane was shot herself . Why is it there’s so much scorn towards her ? Her husband is murdered and her kids left without a father , she’s nearly killed … but it’s all a big green victim conspiracy …..really ?

  • orly

    Mark
    but it’s all a big green victim conspiracy …..really ?

    That’s exactly what it is. We’ll just set aside that she’s a prod.

  • Mark

    Disingenuous is a word that has been bandied about on here …

    Why even bother with the prod bit if ” that’s exactly what it is ” .

  • Republic of Connaught

    You can’t honestly blame the British government not wanting another enquiry. It’s alright for people in the north of Ireland to think they’re the centre of the world but for people in England like David Cameron it’s just a massive pain in the backside from backward, provincial Paddies with a very annoying Ulster accent. NI is not in Britain. If this happened in Britain it would be headline news. NI is just the poor embarassing relation that won’t piss off and govern themselves on their own miserable island.

    The British state has been up to its eyes in all kinds of murders and mayhem in Ireland for centuries. The enquiries would never end if they went down that road.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Mark,
    “the orange rumpoles on this site who claim to have practiced law”

    That’s an ad hominem attack , so it’s out of order. There’s no “claim” about it, I practised law for my sins and if you must know, I have a law degree from Oxford and I worked for one of the leading legal practices in the country for 4 years. Could you not tell that from my verbosity and frequently pompous tone?

    I still have the welts on my back so I don’t take kindly to a large part of my past being written off. I don’t usually go on about it but as the Finucane case was about a solicitor, I do feel I have some personal knowledge of what solicitors do, duties to clients etc and the fact they’re not all saints.
    Also:
    1. It’s “practised”, not “practiced”
    2. rumpole should have a capital ‘R’. Possibly ‘Orange’ too
    Lawyerly enough for you?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Also Mark I am an atheist and married to a Catholic so fairly fundamentally at odds with the OO – so less of the “orange” please. Enough about me.

  • orly

    Mark,

    You’re easily played it seems. Whether Finucane himself was in the IRA or not isn’t really the point. Quite a few of his family were or married into it. Some sources say he was definitely a member himself.

    The point is whether yet another pointless, money sucking, inquiry is required for yet another “green victimhood session”

    For all this talk of moving on and looking to the future…seems some people have quite an issue doing it until they’ve moped about it for as many decades as the troubles lasted in the first place.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Orly,

    This is the bit I don’t understand. Why is the suggestion that police officers were involved in helping murderers rather than stopping them something that you have to be a nationalist to be concerned about?

  • Alias

    The ‘mope-fest’ claim is undermined by Geraldine Finucane being a Protestant from East Belfast, so it’s really a crime that involves both communities as victims.

  • PeterBrown

    It seems that some of the orange rumpoles on this site who claim to have practiced law seem to have forgotten how it works . A ten year old with a box set of CSI has more understanding . There’s a little thing called lawyer / client privilege . Any lawyer / barrister worth their salt leaves the emotion out in the corridor . That’s what barristers do …..

    If that hadn’t been man playing then perhaps Mark could have replied to this himself – this is not about the law and lawyers. Some lawyers do not separate themselves from their clients, one who did so on the loyalist side is still serving time for his role. Many on the nationalist side were able to do so (many lawyers on both sides including myself have represented clients from the “other” side).

    Some however did not want to and in fact deliberately chose not to do so and as many of us were requested to do but refused went over and above the call of duty and indeed beyond the law to support their clients and their cause. That does not justify their murder but it does change it from an attack on the legal system (like the murder and attempted murder of judges where the nationalist community is remarkably silent in terms of inquiries or human rughts) generally to one on the republican movement which dies not warrant an inquiry. The murders of Finucane and Nelson no more warrant an inquiry than those of McBirney, Conaghan, Gibson, Travers (I think that is a pretty comprehensive list of the judges killed but there may be more) Why is this widow not as entitled to an inquiry as Geraldine Finucane irrespective of their religion or where they grew up?

    http://victorpatterson.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/N-Ireland-Troubles/G00004uHYDFdRY48/I0000muZmVZx8BHE

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Yes, Republicans killed 8 legal officials, including judges, during their campaign.

  • orly

    For some here:

    The suggestion that Finucane was in the IRA is rebuffed because of the lack of “evidence” despite sources who were in the IRA saying he was and the well documented facts that other close family members were.

    But when the suggestion is that Police or others were possibly involved? Forget the same standard for evidence above and go straight for an inquiry that will achieve little and cost a fortune.

    I do despair at the thickness of some people on this site sometimes.

    As mentioned earlier, do you want to keep living in the past, dredging through decades old crimes at a cost of millions or do you want to man up, move up and try to sort out this shit hole of a country?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The suggestion that Finucane was in the IRA is rebuffed because of the lack of “evidence” despite sources who were in the IRA saying he was

    Only one “source” says he was in the IRA, and that source does not have a record of being reliable.

    By this measure there are several “sources” who claim that unionist politicians and business leaders set up a “committee” charged with targetting and assassinating Catholic civilians.

    We need a better standard of proof rather than taking our cue from any given source just because it suits us.

    and the well documented facts that other close family members were.

    Given that we seem to be content with the guilt by association, what does that say about the DUP given that one of its election candidates has just been arrested and charged in connection with a pipe bomb attack ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Limerick:

    I’ve seen people here argue that the UVF was set up by unionist politicians

    You’re lying, again. Nobody has claimed the UVF was set up by unionist politicians. Several of us have claimed that there are links between unionism and loyalist paramilitarism.

    on the ‘evidence’ that Gusty Spence said they were. I’ve seen ‘evidence’ that David Ervine knew the colour of unionist politician’s wall paper because he said so. If we are now saying that evidence must be of courtroom standard then can we at least apply the rule equally across the board?

    Yes. I said that the claim with regard to O’Callaghan needs to be backed up with solid corroborating evidence. You have yet to present any.

    There is a great deal of solid corroborating evidence with respect to the links between unionist politicians and loyalist paramilitaries :

    – the UWC strike, which succeeded due to UDA and UVF roadblocks and intimidation and which no unionist politician will condemn

    – the Paisley-run strike in 1978, where Paisley appeared in public with the leader of the UDA Andy Tyrie;

    – here’s video footage of Ian Paisley voicing his approval of people taking the law into their own hands

    – unionist politicians repeatedly electing people linked to the UDA and UVF to ceremonial posts in various local councils

    – just yesterday, a DUP election candidate has been arrested for a pipe bomb attack

    – one of the DUP’s East Belfast MLAs is a former member of the UVF

    – a former DUP Mayor of Larne was a former UVF prisoner and convicted terrorist

    – here’s an article with a picture showing Billy Wright and Willie McCrea on a podium

    – the total absence of any kind of serious call from unionist politicians that the police or authorities take any kind of action against loyalist paramilitaries. Here’s a news article where Nigel Dodds criticizes the police for raiding a UDA bar in North Belfast.

    So the playing field is entirely level here – if you are going to make claims it is imcumbent upon you to provide the evidence. Otherwise you are simply spreading lies.

  • Limerick

    Stalin,

    It has been claimed that there is no evidence that Finucane was in the IRA, but that simply is not true. To summarise.

    The former Commanding Officer of Southern Command PIRA says that he was.

    He comes from a strongly PIRA family and his brothers were either killed or imprisoned in the course of PIRA activities. If he was not PIRA he was therefore something of an anomaly.

    A former catholic policeman says that he described himself as ‘an active republican’.

    Members of his family attended the Provo Tirghrah event for dead PIRA members.

    At least one son has felt perfectly comfortable with carrying on the family tradition by preaching the praises of a dead Provo.

    Now you can add all of that up mand still conclude that he was not PIRA, but you cannot state that there is no evidence that he was. If he wasn’t PIRA of course you would also have to ask yourself why the state ‘colluded’ in getting him murdered? It seems, if we believe the hype, that the state spent a lot of time colluding in the murders of apparently innocent people.

    The other thing that you need to grasp is that it is perfectly possible to believe that he was PIRA without condoning his murder. I do condem,n it, but I do not buy into the theory that he was some sort of Atticus Finch type character who was done to death by the evil Brits because of his outstanding ‘Human Rights’ work.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Limerick,

    No-one is saying there is no evidence. This is a straw man. We are saying the evidence is very weak and the evidence to the contrary is far stronger. CS’s comparison to The Committee is well made. Both examples of conspiracies which people choose to believe not because of the strength of the evidence but simply because it chimes with their prejudices. You must at least accept that your position is faith, rather than evidence, based

  • Limerick

    Jimmy,

    My position is simply that I do not rule out the possibility that Finucane was PIRA. I haven’t said that he was. I have simply put forward some of the evidence which suggests that it can’t be ruled out.

    The most puzzling thing for me is that the people who insist that the British state had him assassinated are the same people who are adamant that snow wouldn’t have melted in his mouth. That seems a bizarre position to me.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not really. As I say it’s a matter of evidence and being open to change your mind. I certainly did after reading Cory. I was horrified by it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Limerick,

    I’ve never tried to say that he is some sort of Atticus Finch.

    The former Commanding Officer of Southern Command PIRA says that he was.

    The credibility of that source is highly tenuous. As I have said repeatedly.

    He comes from a strongly PIRA family and his brothers were either killed or imprisoned in the course of PIRA activities. If he was not PIRA he was therefore something of an anomaly.

    He’s already an anomaly given that he chose to stay at school and become a solicitor. It is/was relatively rare (although not impossible) for people with professional standing and a career to become active in the IRA.

    A former catholic policeman says that he described himself as ‘an active republican’.

    That is not the same thing as being an IRA man.

    Members of his family attended the Provo Tirghrah event for dead PIRA members.

    Yes, we explored this one. You speculated, without any supporting evidence, that the dead PIRA member in question must have been Pat and not one of his brothers because it was reserved for close family members.

    At least one son has felt perfectly comfortable with carrying on the family tradition by preaching the praises of a dead Provo.

    I’d say the majority of people who support and/or sympathize with the Provos did not have parents who were active IRA men.

    My position is simply that I do not rule out the possibility that Finucane was PIRA. I haven’t said that he was.

    Actually, a couple of days ago you quite pointedly said that he was in the IRA. So you are rowing back from your original, unsupportable position.

    The most puzzling thing for me is that the people who insist that the British state had him assassinated are the same people who are adamant that snow wouldn’t have melted in his mouth. That seems a bizarre position to me.

    It seems like a completely normal and consistent position to me if you are a person arguing that the British murdered a completely innocent person ?

  • “As I say it’s a matter of evidence and being open to change your mind. I certainly did after reading Cory. I was horrified by it.”

    How and why was Cory chosen to do a job that he appears to have been very poorly qualified for? Was he willing to go along with a narrative written by London and Dublin as they strove to further develop and consolidate the ‘peace process’?

    If agents are not adequately controlled and prohibited from committing criminal acts they will increase, not decrease, the level of homicidal violence.

    London and Dublin ‘agents’ were double-agents; they took their orders from the states and from the paramilitaries. Had they acted exclusively for the states they would have been of no use to the state, they would have been eliminated by the paramilitaries.

    When the agents of the states (Ministers, intelligence services, etc) allow paramilitary operations to proceed, even in the hope that the risk to life can be minimised, then the tragic outcome can be an Omagh bombing. If that operation had been stymied at Kilcock, Co Kildare, the paramilitaries could have accessed bomb materials elsewhere.

    The sectarian actions of the likes of Paisley and Hume set the mobs at each others throats so they too bear some responsibility for the increase in homicidal violence. When Dublin did a runner in the late 60s it ensured that most of the victims would be in Northern Ireland.

  • Subby

    Ah Nevin/UTC i see you are still trotting out the same old rubbish comparing Hume with Paisley. Just how were Humes actions sectarian?