Friday 18 October 2019

Widow of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane claims collusion in the North went all way to Thatcher

Murder: The widow of Pat Finucane said then prime minister Margaret Thatcher (pictured) ‘knew exactly what was going on’. Photo: PA
Murder: The widow of Pat Finucane said then prime minister Margaret Thatcher (pictured) ‘knew exactly what was going on’. Photo: PA

Ivan Little

The widow of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has claimed that top Canadian judge Peter Cory told her that collusion between loyalists, the security forces and the State went all the way to then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Geraldine Finucane said she believes "the prime minister of the day knew exactly what was going on".

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She adds that Judge Cory, who investigated the lawyer's murder by the UFF in Belfast in February 1989, told her he had seen papers marked 'for cabinet eyes only' and they involved collusion and the killing of her husband.

Ms Finucane makes her allegation in tonight's episode of the BBC NI series, 'Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History'.

The programme also claims that MI5 wiped the files of the judge's inquiry team after their agents visited their offices in central London in 2002 'in the interests of national security'.

One of the inquiry team, Renee Pomerance, now a superior court judge in Canada, told 'Spotlight' she could confirm the incident occurred just as they had described it.

Pat Finucane. Photo: Pacemaker
Pat Finucane. Photo: Pacemaker

'Spotlight' says the security services claimed they were concerned that the inquiry's computer system was insecure and a leak could endanger informers.

Judge Cory told John Stevens, the head of the Metropolitan Police, he did not pursue an official investigation in order "to prevent what might have become an international diplomatic incident".

In the end, the judge recommended the holding of an inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder, but it has never happened.

In the programme Mr Stevens, who earlier conducted a series of investigations into collusion, reveals that at one time more than 200 agents were working for the army inside loyalist paramilitary groups, with upwards of 300 others within republican organisations.

However, 'Spotlight' says the security forces acted on the information they received on only a handful of occasions to protect people, including Gerry Adams.

The programme also includes an interview with a retired RUC detective Alan Simpson, who was tasked to investigate the Finucane murder.

He claims he was warned off by his boss, who said: "If I were you, I wouldn't get too deeply involved in this one."

'Spotlight' says Special Branch knew the identities of the UFF killers within a week but Mr Simpson wasn't told. Nor was he informed that ex-soldier and army agent Brian Nelson had helped set up Mr Finucane.

'Spotlight on the Troubles' airs on BBC Northern Ireland at 9pm tonight

Irish Independent

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