Rage at Finucane IRA link `slur'
FORMER Chief Constable of the RUC Sir John Hermon created a storm last night when he said a murdered solicitor was ``associated with the IRA''.
Sir John, who led the RUC when Pat Finucane was shot dead by the loyalist UFF in front of his family in his Belfast home in 1989, claimed the solicitor used his position to ferry information to republicans.
But the Committee on the Administration of Justice stongly criticised Sir John's comments as ``an outrageous slur''.
And Sinn Fein Assembly member Bairbre de Brún said the comments were ``a pathetic attempt by John Hermon to deflect attention away from the allegations that his force colluded with loyalist death squads in the murder''.
The former police chief made his comments amid growing pressure for the British government to order an independent inquiry into the allegations the security forces were involved in the murder.
Mr Finucane's widow met North Secretary Mo Mowlam last week to press for an independent investigation.
Sir John told the Daily Telegraph: ``Pat Finucane was associated with the IRA and he used his position as a lawyer to act as a contact between suspects in custody and republicans on the outside.''
He said that while he condemned the murder of Mr Finucane, the portrayal of him as someone who did nothing more than work hard for clients on both sides of the community was ``not sustainable''.
The Finucane family has always denied he had any connection with the IRA, but he had three brothers who were.
John Finucane died in a car crash while on an IRA operation in 1972, Dermot escaped from the Maze Prison in 1983 while serving a 22-year sentence and Seamus served a 10-year term for terrorist offences.