Mr Adams said he was sure Tony Blair knew previous British Prime Ministers had authorised collusion with loyalist death squads, and challenged him to "lift the lid off it".
"I think that the British government and this British Prime Minister knows what happened, that's my certain conviction having discussed this issue in detail with him on a number of occasions" he said.
"He has not admitted any specific acts of collusion but what he has, in the course of very detailed discussions going back over quite a long time and in conversation with myself and Martin McGuinness, implicitly and explicitly conceded that there has been collusion.
"What he has said repeatedly is that that is not happening at this time."
The Stevens Inquiry into collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries recently found elements within the police and British army helped loyalists murder Catholics in the late 1980's.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said informants and agents "were allowed to operate without effective control and to participate in terrorist crimes".
Mr Adams said he strongly suspected collusion was also involved in a number of murders in the last two years, including those of Protestant teenager Gavin Brett and Catholic teenager Gerard Lawlor.
And he claimed Mr Blair's insistence that he did not sanction those murders proved he knew previous British Prime Ministers had done so in the past.
"What Mr Blair was saying was that he had not authorised those killings, he knew how this worked," Mr Adams said.
"It's my conviction that he knows that this was state-endorsed and the challenge for him is to lift the lid off it. He's simply saying that he has not authorised such killings since he came in as Prime Minister, implicitly and explicitly in that is that when other Prime Ministers were there, there were such actions endorsed at that level."
Mr Adams said collusion had become a daily reality in the north over the last 30 years and had resulted in some of the worst incidents of violence during the conflict.
"Hundreds of people were killed, and many more injured and maimed, in what was essentially a campaign of state-sponsored murder," he said.
Mr Adams said he was not interested in seeing those who planned a gun or bomb attack on himself appear in court, but he wanted the British government to take responsibility for its actions.
"For a peace process to work and for there to be healing, there has to be an equivalence of a grieving process and a healing process and at the moment that is not happening because the British government has yet to acknowledge what it did here," he said.
The Force Research Unit
The innocuous-sounding Force Research Unit is a covert military intelligence unit under the British Army's Special Intelligence Wing, based in Northern Ireland. Its crest is a man with a net; its motto is "Fishers of Men".
The woman at the centre of the controversy surrounding British agent Brian Nelson was awarded a prestigious medal by the Queen at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace, the North Belfast News can exclusively reveal.
Captain Margaret Walshaw, believed to have been Nelson's British Army handler, was awarded the British Empire Medal just two weeks after Nelson was charged with offenses related to Pat Finucane’s murder in 1990 by the John Stevens Inquiry.
Nelson was charged with the possession of classified military documents and conspiracy to murder nationalists in North and West Belfast, including human rights solicitor Pat Finucane.
He also played a central role in importing a huge arms shipment to loyalist paramilitary groups from South Africa which were later used to kill hundreds of nationalists.
Margaret Walshaw was a sergeant attached to the highly secretive Forces Research Unit in Belfast during the 1980s and is believed to have been Brian Nelson's main handler.
The British government blocked previous attempts to expose the nature of Walshaw's undercover work in the North by issuing injunctions against the Sunday People and the Scottish Sunday Herald.
Today we become the first newspaper in the North or Britain to lift the lid on the woman who ran one of British Intelligence's most highly prized agents.
© North Belfast News, 2001.
Female FRU operative named
A female Force Research Unit operative at the centre of the Pat Finucane controversay and only known previously as "Mags'' has been named on the Internet. An American-based Web site which specialises in releasing intelligence information, "Cryptome'', named the British Intelligence officer as Captain Margaret Walshaw.
"Although any British newspaper editor who publishes her name is threatened with imprisonment, she is openly listed in the current offical British government publication, the 'Army List','' according to the Web site article.
The Web site also confirms that the FRU, far from being disbanded, is still operating and running agents in Ireland but under a different name. "Since it has become controversial, it has adopted a new cover name. This is JCU (Joint Collection Unit).''
The JCU works directly with MI5 and has offices and technical teams on the ground in the Six Counties, says the Cryptome site.
"To confuse the many British journalists who are now investigating the activities of the FRU, another intelligence unit was renamed FIU. This is the Force Intelligence Unit, which runs more orthodox intelligence activities.''
According to the Web site compiler, John Young, British Intelligence illegally hacked into his site to find out who was accessing the material. The MoD admitted as much when they contested a decision by their own D Notice Committee which initally gave British newspapers the go ahead to name Walshaw.
The Glasgow-based Sunday Herald, the Sunday Times and Sunday People had been tipped off that Mags' identity had been revealed on a US Web site last week and immediately notified the secretary of the MoD's D Notice Committee, the body which decides whether or not to gag the press on grounds of national security.
Rear Admiral Nick Wilkinson told the press they were free to publish the identify of the FRU operative after he established that the information was already within the public domain. But in an unprecedented move, the MoD ignored the committee's ruling and threatened the media with injunctions if they named names.
According to the Sunday Herald, the newspaper was contacted by Treasury Solicitor Roland Philips who "made it clear that unless we issued him with an undertaking that we would not publish her name, he was instructed to seek an immedate interdict (a Scotish injunction) to prevent us naming her''.
The MoD did not accept that the operative's identity was already within the public domain, because only 230 people had accessed the Internet document, the Herald had been told by Philips.
According to Cryptome's editor, such information could only be accessed by the British MoD by illegally hacking into the American Web site. Furthermore, Young says, the MoD's figures are wrong and reflect only a portion of access within one day.
To protect visitors to the Web site from scrutiny, Cryptome routinely deletes log files, daily and twice daily when necessary. Within a few days of posting, over 3,000 people had accessed the document, says Young.
On the Web site, Cryptome not only names Walshaw but also reveals that since leaving the Six Counties, the former FRU operative has been promoted and awarded a medal.
"At the time she ran agent Brian Nelson and supervised his murderous activities, she was a non commissioned officer (sergeant) in Britain's Intelligence Corps,'' say the Web site.
"On 1 April 1998, Sergeant Walshaw was promoted from the ranks to become an officer. She has also been awarded the `British Empire Medal' for her achievements.''
As Cryptome points out, Mags' main 'achievement' lay in the deployment of loyalist death squads to target and assassinate Irish republicans and nationalists in what can only be decribed as state killing by proxy.
Between 1986 and 1990, Mags and a second FRU operative known only as "Geoff'' were the principal handlers of Brian Nelson, a former member of the Black Watch regiment of the British Army recruited by the FRU and acting as a chief intelligence officer for the loyalist UDA.
Mags was directly accountable to FRU commander Colonel "J'', recently named as Gordon Kerr, now a Brigadier and serving as British military attache in Beijing. A covert unit within British Military intelligence, the FRU was funded through British Army headquarters in Thiepval Barracks, County Antrim.
The chain of command, through the Joint Security Committee, stretched to the British Cabinet, where the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is known to have taken personal interest in the covert actions of her military forces.
On the ground, Mags facilitated the UDA's deadly campaign of terror by producing maps, photographs, details of routes to the scene of the assassinations and information regarding the target's routine.The female operative has been linked to at least 14 deaths including five sectarian killings.
A secret FRU document dated 3 May 1988 records that Nelson, identified as '6137', "wants the UDA only to attack legitimate targets and not innocent Catholics. Since 6137 took up his position as intelligence officer, the targeting has developed and is now more professional.''
Another document, dated 6 February 1989, says: "6137 initiates most of the targeting. Of late, 6137 has been more organised and he is currently running an operation against selected republican targets.''
But even the summary execution of "selected republican targets'' did not always satisfy the agenda of the FRU. When it suited British Military Intelligence or their political masters, ordinary Catholics or even effective defence lawyers were deliberately targeted and killed as part of a wider campaign of terror.
In September 1987 Francisco Notorantonio, a retired Catholic taxi driver, was shot dead in his bed when masked gunmen smashed their way into his Ballymurphy home. A British Army map was discovered at the scene after the killing and one of gunmen was wearing British Army issue boots.
The pensioner was targeted after the UDA was persuaded that he was a "top provo'' by the FRU. Mags deliberately falsified British military intelligence documents in order to encourage the UDA to target Notorantonio. The FRU claims it was a ploy to protect another agent, allegedly within the IRA.
Nelson, as the first secret document says, may have preferred to target republicans but the UDA could be just as effectively deployed against ordinary Catholics when it suited the FRU.
The FRU used the same smokescreen two years later when an "uppity Catholic lawyer'' was proving difficult to neutralise.
Less than a week after the second document was written on February 12 1989 Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his wife and children as the family sat at their Sunday dinner.
This week marks the twelveth anniversay of Finucane's death. Finucane was not the only victim targeted by Mags and her FRU colleagues but he has proved to be one of the most controversal, evoking international condemnation which has refused to fall silent over a decade later.
As Nelson's handler, Mags played a pivitol role in the plot to kill Pat Finucane. But she was far from alone.
While the FRU targeted Finucane and provided his killers with a clear run to and from the scene of the shooting, another British agent, William Stobie, working as an informer for RUC Special Branch, supplied and later disposed of the weaponry.
The gun which killed Finucane was from the locally recruited British regiment the UDR, 'stolen' from Palace Barracks. But even before that a British minister had conveniently provided the political cover in which the killing could proceed.
Just weeks before Finucane's death, a British Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg had told the House of Commons that "there are in Northern Ireland a number of solicitors who are unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA''.
These deliberately inflammatory remarks followed a secret briefing by two RUC Special Branch officers who had spoken to Hogg probably at the behest and certainly with the knowledge of the then head of the RUC John Hermon.
A decade later Hermon claimed "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 outside.''
The scene has been set, in the run up to the killing, and subsequently, the lie has been perpetuated that Pat Finucane was targeted and killed because he was a republican, either in fact or in perception. But in truth the real threat Finucane posed to British occupation in Ireland was as an effective defence lawyer.
It was not, the mythical "PIRA Officer'' claimed by the UDA and like Notorantonio, manufactured by the FRU and RUC, but the real solicitor willing and able to defend human rights that the British had in their sights.
In his book "The Irish War'', Tony Geraghty highlights the importance British strategy placed on the manipulation of the courts as a weapon against opposion to British rule in Ireland during this period. Finucane was a thorn in the flesh of this strategy.
As a lawyer, Pat Finucane was courageous enough to pursue the British Army and RUC when they broke the law, tenacious enough to challenge the denial of defendents' rights in the non jury courts of the North, persistent enough to hold the British government to account in international courts of law, and finally smart enough to suceed.
As his son Michael recently wrote in a British newspaper, "to dwell on the role of people like Brian Nelson and Martin Ingram (another FRU operative) is to miss the point as to why Pat Finucane was murdered. It happened because he was a determined and innovative lawyer and not, as the RUC and others claim, because he was involved in paramilitary activity.''
"When the British government had to decide between preserving the status quo and putting up with some uppity Catholic lawyer, the choice was simple: the lawyer had to go,'' says Michael.
The photograph passed by the FRU to the UDA showed Pat Finucane coming out of a courthouse with a client, Pat McGeown. McGeown a former Republican hunger striker and prominent member of Sinn Féin had just been acquitted of murder charges relating to two British Army corporals.
The two soldiers had been executed by the IRA after they attacked a funeral cortege in West Belfast. It has been alleged that the two corporals were members of the FRU. If this is true there was an added incentive for the FRU to target Finucane.
Mags was a crucial player in this killing and in the FRU's wider campaign of terror.
She appears to have relished her role as ruthless spymaster and purveyer of sudden death but she was never a renegade British soldier.
If she acted beyond the law it was with the full knowledge of her commanding officers and complete sanction of their political masters.
This is why the restricted remit of the Stevens investigation, like the proposed investigation by the new Police Ombudsman's office, can never hope to reveal the full truth behind the Finucane killing.
The family's call for a fully independent international public inquiry has gained support within Ireland, throughout Europe and across the Atlantic, leaving the British government standing alone in it's continuing denial.
And as Michael Finucane recently pointed out, the state machinery that murdered his father was not established to kill one man. "Others died too, and the question that has to be answered is, how many?
"Many people who still live in the Northern Ireland were unaware of how precarious their existence was, and did not realise that for many years each of them was considered expendable. But they are aware now and they want to know the truth.''
Captain Margaret 'Mags' Walshaw can be seen eighth from the left towards the middle of the second
State Sanctioned Murder Uncovered
Commenting on the publication of the Cory Report and the British government reaction to it, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly said:
"This is an important report. It sets out much of what has been known publicly but not acted upon.
"Judge Cory's conclusion is that some of the acts in themselves, as well as the cumulative effect of the documents and the statements, 'clearly indicate to me that there is strong evidence that collusive acts were committed by the army (FRU), the RUC Special Branch and the security services.
"Sinn Féin supports the family demands for full independent, international inquiries.
"The Cory cases are but the tip of the iceberg. At least 80 people listed on the files of just one agent, Brian Nelson, the unionist paramilitary and British Intelligence agent, were attacked. 29 were shot dead. The British securocrats ran many more Brian Nelson's. They still do.
"MI5 recruited Nelson. MI5 reports directly to the British Prime Minister in Downing Street. That is where political clearance was given for the policy of collusion. That is where the responsibility lies. That is why a British Secretary of State for Defence sought to persuade the British Attorney General not to prosecute Nelson. That is why senior British officials were involved in the attempted cover up.
"The Cory Report is a damning indictment of British rule in Ireland. It reports on the British government killing of citizens with impunity. This is a scenario usually associated with repressive dictatorships. In any democracy in Europe the government would have fallen.
"The structures which implemented this policy still exist. The agents are still being run. The handlers are still in place. We need to know where these people are now for many former members of Special Branch have since been placed into senior positions throughout the PSNI. They continue to have a malign influence over policing in the north.
"Sinn Féin is calling on the Irish government and on political and civic opinion throughout the island to pursue these matters with the utmost vigour to ensure that the wishes of the victims families are delivered and so that Irish citizens are never again subjected to such a campaign.
"The British government must take up it responsibilities. They must put an end to the cover up and to the ethos and structures in which this killing campaign flourished."
Made in Britain
There have been many definitions of collusion. At various stages in over a decade of discourse, collusion has been portrayed in the limited terms of 'a few bad apples' or as a matter of 'leaks'. In this scenario, collusion has been identified as simply the product of random individual decisions acting outside official sanction and structures.
Stevens (1) was largely based on this premise. It was specifically triggered by the loyalist decision to publicly produce Crown force documents to prove their targets were 'legitimate'. Conveniently, the emphasis of the investigation was primarily against those (loyalists) who were the recipients of leaked documents rather than those (Crown force members) who were doing the leaking.
Suspicion, not necessarily accompanied by prosecution, was focused upon indigenous groupings, loyalists and the UDR. The RUC was largely kept out of it. British forces were obscured, the close relationship between Special Branch and FRU and MI5 was underplayed by promoting the notion of 'rivalry'.
The 'inadvertent' arrest of Brian Nelson (FRU agent and British soldier, sectarian torturer and UDA member) and his decision to admit he was working as a British agent for the FRU to the Stevens team changed the entire collusion landscape.
The importance of Nelson as an agent and more significantly the importance of the people behind Nelson (his arrest threatened their exposure) can be guessed by the lengths to which the British went to subvert the conviction.
When covert attempts by British agencies like the FRU (the hiding of Nelson's paperwork at Palace barracks, the fire at Stevens' headquarters) failed, the British state could no longer completely hide its hand. The state feared the information that might be exposed during a lengthy court case so much that it had to deploy 'public' mechanisms to curtail the trial.
The cover-up had to rely on the DPP and the then Attorney General, Patrick Mayhew (a key political figure within the Thatcher government) and partial exposure of the FRU with the 'appearance' behind screens of Colonel 'J', Gordon Kerr (who remains a key military and political figure, even under Tony Blair).
The most politically dynamic revelation to come out of this period was exposure of Nelson's involvement in the Finucane killing. This became and largely remains the cutting edge of the collusion controversy. Stevens (2) was established to manage the political fallout following Nelson's trial.
Stevens (3) was established after a British government (under international pressure to hold a public inquiry) claim that the Finucane killing had already been investigated was refuted by Stevens.
And now we have Cory.
The British Government had fought long and hard to keep 'investigations' into allegations of collusion 'in-house' and the appointment of a Canadian judge outside the immediate jurisdiction of the British state was a significant defeat for those who wished to keep the full horror of British state collusion under wraps.
But if Cory's investigation was no longer 'in-house' it was a half way house. Cory could only recommend a fully independent international public inquiry but he couldn't conduct one. It is hardly surprising that the Cory reports are largely a consideration of evidence already in the public arena.
Now this might have been a significant disadvantage had it not been for the fact that the entire collusion controversy has a momentum outside the British state apparatus and an enormous amount of evidence has already emerged within the public domain. Add to this a wide range of commentaries by international legal and human rights groups, politicians and lawyers, and it is clear that British state notions of collusion would most likely be swept aside, like the flotsam they always were.
In effect, the significance of Cory lies less in the further information he reveals and more in the interpretations he employs. In every discipline the standing theory to explain any phenomenon is accepted until the establishment of exceptions to the rule becomes so great that the theory collapses under its own contradictions.
Within the collusion discourse, the Cory reports represent such a critical mass. The British Government may hope to keep its finger in the dyke but the dam won't hold. The representation of collusion as something outside official sanction and support can no longer be sustained.
In his reports, Cory defines collusion in a number of ways. He begins by looking at the literal meaning of the verb to collude. Synonyms include to conspire, to connive, to plot and to scheme. Cory goes further, by exploring the verb connive as to deliberately ignore, to overlook, to disregard, to pass over, to turn a blind eye, to excuse and to condone.
For a number of years, the British state has attempted to confine damaging notions of collusion to the idea of cover up after the event. When pushed, the British state accepts the notion of collusion by omission. It hopes that by accepting the notion that systems within the state failed (failed to act, failed to inform, failed to arrest, failed to prosecute - whatever) the systems themselves can remain intact. In such a scenario, mechanisms, guidelines etc, can be put in place to 'ensure' failure won't recur or remain unacknowledged but nothing has to be dismantled. In such a scenario, collusion can be explained away as human error or as misguided loyalty rather than a policy sanctioned at the very top and a strategy pursued by the state apparatus itself.
But while Cory does focus on collusion by omission, he also paves the way for an emerging notion of collusion by commission. Cory considers both the action and inaction of British Government agencies and significantly 'patterns of behaviour' by government agencies that indicates collusion is integral to its operation. It is here that the British state is most vulnerable to exposure. And it's the Finucane case that poses the greatest threat to the British of this kind of exposure.
FINUCANE & NELSON
In fact, the assassination of Rosemary Nelson can only really be understood in the light of the assassination of Pat Finucane ten years previous. A public inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson without full consideration of the Finucane killing will necessarily be incomplete if not fatally flawed. The British Government's decision to 'delay' the Finucane inquiry while proceeding with an inquiry into the Rosemary Nelson killing has to be judged in light of this.
The 'delay' imposed by the British, as well as censorship of sections of report directly contravenes Cory's recommendations, to which the British Government promised to adhere. Cory specifically warns against delaying a public inquiry into the Finucane killing on the grounds of ongoing criminal prosecutions. "This may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will be of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions," writes Cory.
A range of agencies were involved in the Finucane killing and the subsequent cover up. One such agency was the covert British Army unit, the FRU. FRU agent and British soldier Brian Nelson targeted the Belfast solicitor and provided intelligence to assist the killing squad.
Another FRU operative accompanied Nelson to reconnoitre Finucane's house. FRU Captain M is believed to have ordered a clear run for the killers (she had the power to remove all other British Army and RUC patrols out of the area). Captain M was directly accountable to FRU OC, then Colonel now Brigadier, Gordon Kerr.
Special Branch was also involved in the Finucane killing. It was their agent William Stobie who supplied the weaponry and disposed of it afterwards. Despite information from Stobie, Special Branch did nothing to thwart the attack or pursue the executioners.
Special Branch also briefed British minister Douglas Hogg, who played a significant role in setting the scene in the run up to the killing. After the briefing, Hogg went on to describe to the British House of Commons some Belfast solicitors as unduly sympathetic to the IRA. Special Branch was also involved in covering up a taped 'confession' to the Finucane murder by UDA killer Ken Barrett. Barrett was subsequently recruited as a Special Branch agent.
Special Branch doctored the evidence by replacing the confession tape and later was involved in an attempt to incriminate the CID officer Johnston Brown who had witnessed the confession and informed the Stevens team. Meanwhile, the weaponry used in the killing came from the UDR.
Cory considers much of this evidence while also throwing more light on the actions of government agencies like the DPP and government ministers involved in the Finucane case. Cory specifically considers Gordon Kerr's evidence during the Nelson trial and exposes his claims as fundamentally flawed if not downright lies. Kerr appeared in court behind screens and identified only as Colonel 'J'. Cory refers to Kerr as Soldier 'J'.
"The evidence given by the CO FRU (soldier 'J') at Nelson's trial could only be described as misleading. The statement that Nelson's actions were responsible for saving close to 217 lives was based on a highly dubious numerical analysis that cannot be supported on any basis," says Cory.
Cory's report goes further, suggesting that Colonel 'J' not only lied in court but that there was a conspiracy to lie which involved members of the British Government and other agencies. Kerr told a senior police officer investigating the Finucane killing that he had testified from a 'script' that had been approved by others in authority. He later denied this admission.
Cory cites other evidence that supports Kerr's initial claim that he was testifying from an approved script. According to Cory, in 1990, during the first Stevens' inquiry, a senior British Government official was asked for information that might be used to persuade the Attorney General that Brian Nelson should not be prosecuted for crimes he committed while he was a FRU agent.
"A document was prepared that described Nelson's life-saving activities in virtually the same language that was used by Soldier 'J' at Nelson's trial. This language also appeared in a letter written by the Secretary of State for Defence to the Attorney General, in which he urged the Attorney not to prosecute Nelson," says Cory.
"Whether or not this constituted a 'script', it would appear that Soldier J's testimony describing Nelson's life-saving activities had been both approved and used by others in authority who wished to shield Brian Nelson from criminal prosecution," says Cory.
But there's more. At the time Kerr (Soldier J) gave evidence at Nelson's trial in 1992, senior officials were already well aware that the statistics referred to by 'J' were nonsense.
"In a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Defence on 25 April 1991, the Attorney General pointed out that the evidence in the possession of the DPP and others indicated that Nelson's intelligence had actually resulted in only two lives being saved and that 'the Chief Constable of the RUC agrees with this conclusion'."
In other words, the notion that Nelson's primary function was to save lives was a lie and a known lie at the time of his trial but it was used as the primary justification for the plea bargaining deal and subsequent light sentence.
The range of involvement of state agencies and government officials likely to emerge during an independent international public inquiry gives the lie to any notion of collusion as the action of individuals or of a 'rogue' unit like the FRU. It also gives the lie to the notion that state collusion takes place only on the basis of omission. Cory takes us to the edge of preferred notions of collusion used by the British. He goes further by urging us to look into the abyss of British state involvement.
No wonder the British government is running scared and Tony Blair is 'considering' alternative forums like truth and reconciliation. A properly constituted independent public inquiry might just open up the whole squirming can of worms.
STATE TARGETS ITS CITIZENS
The truth about the Finucane killing and the murder of other civilians would even undermine the notion with which the British justify collusion to themselves, the notion of "taking the war to the IRA". An independent public inquiry might just expose the fact that once the 'murder machine' was up and running, no one was safe.
It might just reveal that British agencies like Special Branch and the FRU killed at their convenience, to cover the tracks of agents, to eliminate agents past their sell by date or uppity lawyers interfering with delivery of the criminalisation policy, loyalists who knew too much and Britain's political as well as military opponents. It might also show that they were prepared to sacrifice the lives of other British soldiers and members of the RUC.
Perhaps, just perhaps, an independent public inquiry might expose the fact that citizens of a state whose authority was under question were killed in the interests of that state. It might conclude that the British state didn't just collude, but actively commissioned the murder of citizens within its jurisdiction. It might just show that the British didn't 'take the war to the IRA', they targeted the Irish people. And finally, collusion might be exposed for what it is, a political policy and counter insurgency strategy exported to Ireland but 'made in Britain'.
"We will not give up. We will have the truth."
Michael Finucane delivers the Bobby Sands Memorial Lecture
On Friday night, the annual Bobby Sands Memorial Lecture was delivered by Michael Finucane, son of solicitor Patrick Finucane, who was shot dead by the UDA pro-British death squad in 1989. Sinn Féin EU candidate Bairbre de Brún chaired proceedings at the Devonish Entertainment Complex in Belfast.
The campaign group, An Fhírinne, used the event to highlight the killings of hundreds of nationalists assassinated by the British Government's proxy gun gangs - the UVF and UDA.
Many of the families of people killed in the collusion campaign were present at Friday night's lecture. Robert McClenaghan of An Fhírinne told An Phoblacht that "the Bobby Sands Memorial Lecture was the perfect platform for our campaign given that Pat Finucane was the solicitor who represented the hunger strikers and his killing is so central to the collusion strategy operated by the British".
The following is an edited version of Michael's address:
"I cannot think of a more apt time of year to address the topic of collusion, as we remember all of the hunger strikers and, in particular, commemorate the first to die, Bobby Sands. I know that this time of year must be especially difficult for all of the families of those who died on hunger strike in the H-Blocks. I think I can relate to some of what they must be feeling, having gone through a few anniversaries like this myself with my own family.
When I read the words written by a man who perhaps knew he was going to die, I find myself moved by the deep humanity of Bobby Sands. He was an IRA volunteer and a soldier in that army. But he was also a human being and, for me, that is what comes across most strongly in his writing. The depth of his empathy with other people is clearly evident, as he constantly mentions his family, his comrades, his friends, admiring them for their efforts while being almost dismissive of his own. His language is an inclusive language; not just remembering the people he knows but speak of what he hopes might be one day, for all people of this island. His writing shows a breadth and depth of vision that was far ahead of its time.
It is significant that Bobby Sands' thoughts and vision contain no element of sectarianism, no hint of partisanship about for whom he is seeking a better future. It is everyone, all peoples of this island. He specifically says so in the phrase: "...everyone, Republican or otherwise..." He does not discriminate; he does not exclude.
THE VANGUARD OF INCLUSIVENESS
Today, we face the challenges of a new Irish society that is not only multi-denominational, but also multi-racial and multi-ethnic. A very different society from the one Bobby Sands knew in his time. I think Bobby Sands would have relished the challenges that the diversity in our modern society has brought. I have no doubt that his contribution today would have been just as significant, if not more, than that of 20 years ago. He would have been to the forefront of meeting the challenges that our new society brings. In today's society, where the very right to become a citizen is about to be put to the vote in a constitutional referendum, Bobby Sands would have been the vanguard of inclusiveness, welcoming those who come to our shores seeking refuge from persecution in their own lands. Not only would he have extended the hand of friendship, he would have placed the burden of expectancy upon each new addition to Ireland by showing them that they had their own part to play. With that burden comes a sense of worth, a comfort that, although something is expected, it is only because we value the unique contribution that is only to be found in each individual human being. It is this meaning in his writings that sets him so far apart from the State he was fighting against:
Bobby spoke for all people who claim nothing more than their basic right to govern their own affairs; to decide their own future; to make their own way in the world free from oppression and persecution. I think, too, that Bobby Sands knew what his fate would be, even though he hoped and prayed for another. He knew the enemy far too well to allow himself any false hopes. Perhaps, even, he knew deep down that this would be the fate of many others, though they had not yet realised it and he himself fervently hoped and prayed against it.
THE NATURE OF COLLUSION
The writings of Bobby Sands demonstrate an understanding of something fundamental about the nature of the place in which we live and, more importantly, the way in which the British sought to control it. In his time, the control went under the titles of 'normalisation' and 'criminalisation'. If criminalisation and normalisation were the watchwords of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the next title to be applied was emerging under cover of extreme secrecy. It was not something that had been given a name in Bobby Sands' time, although it certainly existed and he was no doubt aware of it. It was developed in the early 1980s and nurtured in the years that followed, using state resources and state personnel. I refer, of course, to what we now know as 'collusion'.
The true nature of collusion is not difficult to understand. When the State eventually realises that people cannot be criminalised; that they will not give up their identity; that they will fight to retain their individuality and their beliefs; that they will never, ever yield, surrender, and be assimilated into a mindless, soulless institution; there is, really, only one thing left to do: kill them. Or kill those close to them. Or kill those close to them and all around them. Normally, this type of activity goes by another name: murder. The British Government describes it in another way: policy.
Collusion is a reality that we know all too well because we have been forced to deal with its effects for so long. We are all of us expendable if the British State so decides. As citizens, our lives are not valued or protected, but assessed, according to what is 'in the interests of the State' at any given time. We have all of us buried too many fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters, brothers and friends, to think anything different.
The policy of collusion between the British State and loyalist paramilitaries has been in operation for many years. We know this because of the way in which the activities of a key agent, Brian Nelson, have been exposed to public scrutiny. Initially, this happened at his trial in 1992, but subsequent examination of his role has proved far more illuminating. The reports compiled by Sir John Stevens - or, at least, the 20-page summary that was released to the public - and the recent report by the former Canadian Supreme Court Judge, Peter Cory, show the truth of Nelson's activities and also expose the true nature of the work of the Army unit that controlled him, the Force Research Unit (FRU).
The FRU was a secret branch of Army Intelligence responsible for running agents and informers to gather intelligence in Ireland. This unit still exists, and is now operating under the name Joint Services Group. At the time Nelson was gathering intelligence for the FRU, the commanding officer was Lt Colonel Gordon Kerr. He is now a Brigadier and is currently the British Military attaché in Beijing, China.
My family have campaigned for a public inquiry because of the compelling evidence that my father's murder was part of the approved policy of widespread collusion between the British State and loyalist assassins.
It is a paradox of my family's campaign that, the more work we do, the more the name of Patrick Finucane becomes known around the world, the farther away an end to this process is pushed. There is a simple explanation for this paradox: the persistent efforts of the British Government to avoid a public inquiry at all costs. It is not difficult to understand the motivation for this when one examines the evidence, for it is both compelling and damning in the extreme.
Throughout the many years of campaigning that my family and I have been engaged in, the British Government have never denied that they colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of my father. They have simply avoided dealing with the case by employing one ruse after another. The all-consuming objective of the British Government has been to delay the possibility that a public inquiry might have to be established within any kind of meaningful timeframe.
It has been a very successful strategy. Two key witnesses, including Brian Nelson, have died in the last 15 years. Vital documentary evidence is missing. Recollections are fading fast and will continue to do so. Each day that passes makes it all the more likely that the adage "justice delayed is justice denied", will be all too apt in my father's case.
My family and I have just witnessed the conclusion of one process of delay in our case. I refer to the investigation carried out by Judge Peter Cory.
Judge Cory was appointed under the terms of an agreement reached in July 2001 during political negotiations at a crucial point in the peace process. The British and Irish Governments agreed that they would jointly appoint "a judge of international standing from outside both jurisdictions to undertake a thorough investigation of allegations of collusion" in the murder of my father, as well as five other controversial cases. The two governments stated specifically that, if the judge recommended a public inquiry in any of the six cases, the relevant government would implement that recommendation.
Neither my family nor any other family was consulted in advance about the governments' proposals. We did not agree that a review of the evidence was necessary, even by a judge of international standing. It was nothing more than a further delaying tactic by the British Government to avoid establishing a public inquiry.
Judge Peter Cory was appointed to the task of reviewing the six cases after considerable negotiation between the two governments about choice of judge. The appointment was supposed to be filled no later than April 2002. This did not happen on time and Judge Cory was not appointed until months after the agreed deadline.
My family and I met with Judge Cory shortly before he began his work. At our first meeting with him, we explained our view that his investigation was unnecessary. We made it clear that, although we took no issue with him personally, we could not accept his appointment because it was just another instance of British Government delay. We were already in the process of grappling with another delaying process, the futile police investigation being conducted by Sir John Stevens, 15 years after the murder. We feared that the exercise about to be undertaken by Judge Cory would be the same as that undertaken by Stevens: unaccountable, unnecessary and unwelcome.
Given that he had only just been appointed to the job, Judge Cory accepted our position with an admirable degree of composure. He even went so far as to say that if he were in our shoes, he would probably feel the same. However, the governments had decided upon this mechanism and, as such, we were all of us stuck with it. Judge Cory promised that he would conduct as thorough a review as possible in as short a time as possible. He said that he would begin with Pat's case, as it was the largest. He said that he would complete all cases before revealing his findings. He said that he would insist that the commitments the two governments had made to him would be honoured and that he would not stand for any reneging on their agreements. This was reassuring but of little comfort: Judge Cory was still, after all, an appointee of the British Government.
Judge Cory began his work in August 2002. He completed his work on all six cases in October 2003, several weeks ahead of schedule. He informed my family at all times of the progress of his work. He met with us on a number of occasions and answered our questions about his work, insofar as he could without compromising his position. He told us what he would do and has done it. To date, Judge Cory is the only person in any way connected with the British Government who has kept his word to my family and me as regards his involvement in my father's case. My family and I did not know who he was at the time of his appointment, but he was recommended by those who did as a person possessed of a first rate mind, abundant in independence and integrity.
In every instance of our dealings, Judge Peter Cory has more than fulfilled his recommendation. The British Government, on the other hand, has reneged on its commitments at every opportunity and where possible, it has changed the conditions of those commitments.
One of the original terms of Judge Cory's appointment was that his reports would be made public as soon as possible after completion. He submitted his reports to the British Government at the end of October 2003. By Christmas 2003, they remained unpublished. Some of the contents of the reports had been leaked to the Northern Ireland press. Speculation was rife among sections of the media about what Judge Cory's recommendations were. The number of theories was seemingly endless but sandwiched between all of this newsprint hype were families of murder victims who had no idea what was happening. Judge Cory was constrained by his terms of appointment and could not tell us. The British Government would not.
We know now that, at this time, the British Government was engaged in a behind-the-scenes exercise of consultation with the agencies of the State that Judge Cory had investigated. The families of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Billy Wright and Robert Hamill could not be permitted to know what exactly had been recommended about the murders of their relatives, but the British State bureau responsible for each murder was fully consulted and asked for its views. This process took another six months to complete. In that time, Judge Cory made a number of representations about the disclosure of the reports to the families concerned. He asked that, if the reports could not be disclosed in their entirety, could the recommendation in each one not be disclosed? The answer to this basic, humanitarian request was, "no".
In the end, Judge Cory decided that he was not prepared to simply await the outcome of the British Government negotiations and contacted my family directly to tell us that he had recommended a public inquiry be established in my father's case.
In the meantime, my family also decided not to wait for the British Government to deign to tell us what we would be permitted to know and when. In February, we launched an action in the courts to compel the British Government to publish Judge Cory's report. It was only after this action had been instigated that the British Government confirmed that it would publish the reports of Judge Cory on 1 April.
On 1 April, Mr Paul Murphy MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, made a statement in the House of Commons. He confirmed that Judge Cory had recommended inquiries in all four cases that he had investigated in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State said that the British Government proposed to establish inquiries in three of the cases immediately. In the case of my father, the British Government proposed that it would "set out the way ahead at the conclusion of prosecutions". No inquiry of any kind was mentioned. The British Government's response to Judge Cory's report was simply to say that "the way ahead" would be set out later. No commitment to a public inquiry was given at the time of publication, nor has one been offered since.
I believe that the reason the British Government has avoided committing itself to an inquiry is because it cannot face such an appalling prospect. The evidence shows clearly that the British State pursued a policy of state-sponsored assassination, using loyalist paramilitaries as its proxy killers. In pursuing this policy, the British were no better than the many despotic regimes around the world today that are condemned for their appalling human rights records. In seeking to cover up what they did for so many years, the British Government continues its policy. Those responsible were rewarded at the time and are now protected in the aftermath. The British Government clearly believes that, if delayed long enough, it will perhaps be possible to avoid an inquiry altogether.
We are now engaged in another court case against the British Government to compel them to commence a public inquiry as recommended by Judge Cory. We should not have to do this. The British Government made a commitment to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory and I believe that they are breaking that commitment by delaying it. Again, it is not difficult to understand the motivation. The British Government is trying to postpone the day when it will be exposed to the world as having engaged in the murder of its own citizens. It has delayed the establishment of an inquiry for 15 years, despite calls from distinguished individuals and organisations worldwide that such an inquiry is necessary.
Every domestic and international non-governmental organisation that concerns itself with human rights in Ireland has called for a public inquiry into the case of Pat Finucane. Both Human Rights Commissions, North and South, have done so. Every Law Society and Bar Council in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland have done the same, as have many international bar associations. The former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Dato Param Cumaraswamy, has called for a public inquiry on four occasions. His successor, Leandro Despoiuy, has continued this call. The UN Special Representative on human rights defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and the UN Human Rights Committee have all supported the call for a public inquiry.
On the tenth anniversary of Pat Finucane's murder, over 1,000 lawyers around the world signed a petition supporting the call for a public inquiry. The US House of Representatives has called for an inquiry. The Government of Ireland has repeatedly called for an inquiry through the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen. This was recently repeated by the Irish Government in a statement on the floor of the United Nations.
My family believe that the truth will remain hidden until a fully independent public judicial inquiry is established to investigate all of the circumstances. We would very much like to be able to say that the end was in sight, but we cannot. We can only see more delay and obstruction ahead as the British Government continues its policy of postponement. This will not deter us. We will continue until we achieve our goal. The campaign is a means to an end: a public, independent judicial tribunal of inquiry that will fully examine all of the evidence in my father's case. Pat Finucane deserves no less than that, as do all of those murdered by the State through this evil policy of collusion.
If the new society we are building is to have any chance of survival, it must know the complete truth of its past, so that it can learn all the necessary lessons to provide a future for everyone. It is our future that matters. It is the future that mattered to people like Bobby Sands and Pat Finucane. We cannot dishonour their memory or their sacrifice by working any less hard toward the future than they did."
'Time for Truth' Meeting
Members of the Troops Out Movement were among the many who attended the Public Meeting 'The British Government and Collusion in Ireland: Time for Truth' last Wednesday evening 12th May.
MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew opened the meeting which was held at the Grand Committee Room, House of Commons, London.
Michelle introduced Alex Maskey, MLA for South Belfast and spoke of his ground-breaking year as the first republican Mayor of Belfast and then introduced Brendan Curran from Lurgan in County Armagh, who's partner, Sheena Campbell was murdered in 1992.
Brendan informed the audience that he was at the meeting as a member of the group 'An Fhírínne' (The Truth), a group of relatives of those who were murdered as a result of collusion between the British Government, their agents, loyalists and the RUC.
He explained how, as the first Sinn Féin councillor to be elected to Craigavon Council, he was targeted by unionist paramilitaries on three occasions, leaving him permanently disabled. He was actually told on a number of occasions by members of the British Army, the UDR and the RUC, that he would be executed - "taken out of it".
Brendan then went on to talk about his partner, Sheena Campbell, who was also a member of Sinn Féin and had just started her second year as a law student at Queens University when she was executed by agents of the British State.
He told the audience how Sheena, along with Dodie McGuinness, "was instrumental in developing the electoral strategy that has brought Sinn Féin so much success" adding "and she was so good at that type of work that they decided to remove her".
Brendan went on to speak of the murder of his partner. He said "Sheena was shot dead at 6.00pm on a Friday evening in the York Hotel in Belfast while she was sitting having a discussion with some of her lecturers.
"No member of her family - myself, her son, who at that stage was eleven years of age, her parents or any member of her family - we were never informed by the authorities that Sheena had been killed.
"I heard on the 7.00pm news of a shooting at the university - that's the first I knew of it".
Brendan said that the RUC never came to the house to inform the family of Sheena's death.
Indeed, the only time the RUC did call to the house, which was quite a few days later, it was to "basically interrogate us about what Sheena was doing in Belfast even though they knew full well".
Recalling the aftermath, Brendan said "It subsequently transpired that the weapon used to murder Sheena was uncovered in Botanic Avenue, close to the scene. It was found in a car where two leading loyalists were found talking. None of them were charged with her murder, or even in connection with her murder. And that information only came out as a result of a slip at the inquest".
Brendan went on to speak about other worrying aspects of the case, including the fact that none of the witnesses to her murder were asked about the gunmen, or how the shooting itself actually happened. Also how Sheena and himself were 'demonised' to the witnesses by the RUC and how the RUC attempted to make the witnesses believe "that they were safer to keep their mouths shut about anything they saw".
"And they succeeded" said Brendan. "So much so that people remained silent for almost ten years, afraid to speak - they got such a frightening from the RUC - and said themselves that basically, what they were being told was "Shut up, keep quiet and say nothing"
Brendan finished by saying that he wanted the British State to admit it was responsible for killing its own citizens.
"That's what we are asking for" he said. "We are asking for that acknowledgement from the British Government, because it is dangerous if we don't get that.
"If we don't get that, then the possibility still exists that more people will be killed in exactly the same way by the same minds, using whatever apparatus the State has".
Michelle Gildernew thanked Brendan, who she said "has gone through a very horrible experience".
Although she didn't know Sheena Campbell personally, Michelle said that someone who had worked with Sheena had said that she was the kind of person who would have been the first female to lead Sinn Féin. "She was a gifted woman, a brilliant strategist, a very dear comrade to those who worked with her and Sinn Féin is worse off without Sheena Campbell".
Alex Maskey, speaking of the collusion campaign in the north and the implications of that amongst the northern community, reminded those present that the theme of the meeting was 'Time for Truth' and that acceptance of that was now beginning to "percolate right throughout the political system".
He informed the meeting that the NIO had that morning, launched a 'pre-consultation document' with a view to introduce some kind of process to deal with these issues.
He said: "In my experience, the majority of people who are asking for inquiries are doing so because they have been denied the truth for so long.
"I would acknowledge from the outset that people from all walks of life in our community, no matter what political perspective - or none - that they come from, can argue and rightly so, ask for the truth as to what happened in respect of their own loved ones, no matter from what community or tradition they come from.
"And I acknowledge that and I accept that.
"At this point in time we are trying to highlight the whole question of collusion in particular, because we believe that collusion has run right to the heart of British policy in Ireland for many decades and has caused untold death."
Alex went on to say that the most important element of collusion is that the apparatus, organisations and agencies, as well as key individuals responsible, currently remain in place. He said that one of the main objectives, besides getting at the truth and finding out what has happened in the past, is to make sure that the people who were involved in those structures are actually removed from the system so that it can never happen again.
He then went on to talk about the Cory Report and the fact that the British Government is still stalling on its commitment to a Public Inquiry in relation to the Pat Finucane murder and asked for support to ensure that there will be an inquiry "not only into the case of Pat Finucane, but into a whole range of other incidents and deaths which smell very much of collusion".
Alex pointed out that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair would argue that none of these controversial issues happened 'on his watch'. Accepting that, Alex said: "but his government now is continuing to conceal evidence and is continuing to thwart inquiries.
"Under 'his watch' he is now beginning, unfortunately, to become tarnished because he is not taking the bull by the horns and dealing with this openly and honestly. Regrettably, Tony Blair, who we as a party acknowledge played a major instrumental role in this peace process has been, in a sense, tainted by the negativity around this issue of collusion. And that is something to be regretted and I hope that he sees the error of that particular way."
Speaking specifically about Sheena Campbell, Alex said: "Sheena Campbell actually patented and refined considerably Sinn Féin's electoral machine and for one so young, that told people like myself who worked with her - had the great privilege of doing that - that here is a rising star, politically, in our party and our movement and that in years ahead, she would be in the leadership.
"I have no doubt that Sheena Campbell and others - Brendan himself, who was a lone voice in that particular part of Armagh for a number of years - they were not targeted 'willy nilly'. They were targeted specifically because they were deemed to be a thorn in the side of the authorities".
Alex went on to speak about specific attacks on Sinn Féin members in Belfast, including himself. He said: "These were not random attacks. These were routine, systematic attacks on a political party, because that political party and people like Pat Finucane and others were actually standing up for a community".
Alarmingly, he added: "What really angers me is that to this very day the British Government will tell us that all of the Sinn Féin councillors in the City Hall in Belfast are currently under threat of their lives. And that threat remains with those individuals to this very day".
Referring to the Cory Report, Alex recommended that all those present should make a real effort to read it. He said the information in it is truly damning of previous British Governments.
Moving on to the issue of truth, Alex spoke of the document on the subject launched by Sinn Féin last year.
He said that there is no one process that will satisfy all of the victim's families. Some families do not even want to talk about the death of their loved one; some do want to talk about it; some want to know what happened, why it happened, who was involved; some want those responsible imprisoned and some don't want those responsible imprisoned.
Alex explained how any truth process must be victim centred, it must have at its fulcrum the interest of the families of those killed and that all of the organisations, combatants and protagonists have to be involved on the same level. It would not be right if one, or more organisations, are compelled to give evidence and others not - one cannot be given more immunity than another. That includes governments, policing and other organisations and agencies.
Crucially, any truth process must take place amid a politically stable backdrop.
Alex finished his talk by stating that it is important that we continue to campaign for the truth and to open up the whole issue of collusion "that ran to the very core of our conflict".
Michelle Gildernew thanked Alex Maskey and stressed that it was vitally important that those present took the information home with them and decided what they could do to help in the collusion campaign.
The question and answer session that followed was well contributed to and clearly showed that those present had indeed taken the presentations on board.
Truth for collusion victims
While few will dispute that this week's apology from the British government to the Maguire and Conlon families didn't come before time, it serves as cold comfort to those families who believe that same government had a hand in the sectarian murders of their loved ones.
While the 15 years Gerry Conlon served for something he didn't do is a huge price to pay for a sour bite of British ‘justice', the pain is equally felt by those robbed of their loved ones permanently.
For years the families of those men, women and children cut down by loyalist murder gangs, financed and directed by British security services, have lobbied for an acknowledgment of the part the state had to play in the sectarian murder campaign waged across three decades and claiming hundreds of lives.
The involvement of British military intelligence, through the activities of the Force Research Unit and M15 are well documented.
Throughout the 1980s in particular, British agents such as Brian Nelson, using details supplied by the British Army and the RUC, identified innocent Catholics for assassination.
Nelson was also responsible for smuggling hundreds of automatic weapons into the North of Ireland from South Africa with the help of British military intelligence in 1986.
The brutal impact of weapons was almost immediate. In the years leading up to 1986, 71 Catholics were murdered by loyalists.
In the six years after 1986, 239 Catholics died at the hands of loyalist gunmen.
When the word collusion comes up, several high profile names spring to mind. The cases of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill have grabbed a huge share of the headlines in recent years. But behind these high profile cases there are hundreds of others that rarely get a mention.
A support group, An Fhirinne, literally meaning The Truth, has travelled across the globe in recent years as part of a campaign to uncover the facts behind the British government's involvement in the murder of hundreds of Irish civilians.
Members of An Fhirinne campaign to highlight the part British Army intelligence, the Force Research Unit, MI5 and the RUC had to play in the death of hundreds of people across the North.
While some names are more easily recognisable than others, campaigners say, for them, each and every case is ‘high profile'.
“We don't use the term ‘high profile'," explained An Fhirinne spokesman Mark Sykes. “Every case is ‘high profile'. Someone shot going to the shop for a bottle of milk is as important as any other case. The terms of what we regard as collusion are wide. For instance, if the RUC or PSNI did not carry out a thorough investigation we regard that as collusion.
“Whether it be Pat Finucane, the Ormeau Road bookie's, Loughinisland or the case of Gerard Slane, each carries equal weight – no distinctions are made. Everybody who is involved in this group believes they are the victims of state murder."
Just this week, the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry team began contacting agencies and individuals seeking information relating to the murder of the Portadown solicitor in March 1999.
Justice campaigners say the importance of full, independent and public inquiries is vital in helping the effort of other families in their quest for justice.
“Issues may be raised at the inquiries that have already been set up that could shed light on other incidents. Obviously these inquiries have to be independent and public. We will be watching the inquiries that have been set up very closely."
An Fhirinne draws members from across the North and further and comprises people from different political backgrounds bonded by a strong conviction that they are all victims of a state conspiracy to murder civilians.
Mark Sykes himself survived the 1992 Sean Graham bookmaker's massacre. Five Catholics were shot dead and up to a dozen injured when two UDA gunman sprayed unsuspecting customers with automatic gunfire.
“The group is very diverse and different people hope to get different things from the campaign. Some people want inquiries to be set up to investigate what happened to their loved ones.
Others want those involved in collusion to be held accountable, and that goes as far as the British cabinet.
“Judge Cory is on record as saying that he saw papers that went as far as the British cabinet, that they knew that innocent civilians were being targeted by loyalists and the Force Research Unit.
Thatcher was the engineer of this policy. She knew collusion was taking place and instigated a culture of concealment.”
THE INQUIRIES BILL: THE WRONG ANSWER
22nd March 2005
The above-listed organisations jointly express our concern over some of the provisions of the Inquiries Bill introduced into Parliament on 24th November 2004. The Bill, being discussed this week by a Standing Committee of the House of Commons, would, if enacted, alter fundamentally the system for establishing and running inquiries into issues of great public importance in the UK, including allegations of serious human rights violations. Should it be passed into law, the effect of the Bill on individuals and cases that merit a public inquiry would be highly detrimental. In particular, in those cases where one or more person has died or been killed, the right of their surviving family members to know the truth about what happened and to an effective investigation could be violated by the operation of the Bill.
The fundamental problem contained in the Inquiries Bill is its shift in emphasis towards inquiries established and largely controlled by government Ministers. This shift is achieved by the repeal of the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 and the terms of several of the Bill's clauses. These clauses grant broad powers to the Minister establishing an inquiry on issues such as the setting of the terms of reference, restrictions on funding for an inquiry, suspension or termination of an inquiry, restrictions on public access to inquiry proceedings and to evidence submitted to an inquiry, and restrictions on public access to the final report of an inquiry. The Bill does not grant the independence to inquiry chairs and panels that has made their role so crucial in examining issues, particularly where public confidence has been undermined.
Several of us have already laid out our concerns about the Bill in earlier statements and briefings and we are pleased to note that some amendments to the Bill have already been adopted in the House of Lords. However, we continue to have serious concerns about the Bill in its current form and we urge all members of Parliament to take these concerns into account in their ongoing consideration of the Bill. We also wish to draw attention to the views expressed on this matter by the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, by the Public Administration Select Committee, and by two notable jurists, namely Lord Saville of Newdigate and former Canadian Supreme Court justice Judge Peter Cory.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that several provisions of the Bill may not be compliant with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights in that they would inhibit an effective investigation into cases involving deaths. For example, the Committee has expressed concern that “the threat of withdrawal of funding by the Minister could unduly constrain the independence of an inquiry, and fail to satisfy the Article 2 requirement of an independent inquiry.” The Committee has further stated that “the independence of a tribunal is secured both by the institutional and legal structure in which it operates, and by the restraint and impartiality exercised in practice by those involved. Even given the proper restraint by Ministers in the exercise of powers considered above, their availability in respect of an inquiry would risk affecting its independence, both actual and perceived.” With particular regard to the power of Ministers to issue restriction notices, the Committee concluded that “the independence of an inquiry is put at risk by ministerial power to issue these restrictions, and … this lack of independence may fail to satisfy the Article 2 obligation to investigate…” It also was concerned that the ministerial power to withhold publication of all or part of an inquiry report is “wide enough to compromise the independence of an inquiry.”
The Public Administration Select Committee also criticised many facets of the Inquiries Bill, in its report following its inquiry into “Government by Inquiry”. In particular, the Committee expressed concern about Ministers conducting inquiries into their own or their department's actions.
Published correspondence between Lord Saville, who chairs the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, and DCA Minister Baroness Ashton relating to the Bill is also of great importance, as it demonstrates the serious reservations of a senior judge and chair of a complex current inquiry. In particular, Lord Saville is concerned about the clause granting Ministers the power to issue notices restricting public access to inquiry proceedings and materials. In a letter of 26th January, Lord Saville states, “I take the view that this provision makes a very serious inroad into the independence of any inquiry and is likely to damage or destroy public confidence in the inquiry and its findings, especially in cases where the conduct of the authorities may be in question.” He further stated that neither he nor his fellow judges on the BSI would be prepared to be appointed as a member of an inquiry that was subject to a provision of that kind. Despite the addition in the House of Lords of a clause setting out a presumption of public access to inquiry proceedings, restriction notices issued by Ministers could still result in secret inquiries that would, as feared by Lord Saville, be “likely to damage or destroy public confidence in the inquiry and its findings, especially in cases where the conduct of the authorities may be in question.”
On 15th March, 2005, Judge Peter Cory, a retired Canadian Supreme Court justice who was appointed by the British and Irish governments in 2002 to investigate allegations of state collusion in six controversial murder cases, wrote a letter expressing his own fears about the potential effects of the Inquiries Bill. He described the Bill as “unfortunate to say the least” and with specific reference to the case of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane stated, “It seems to me that the proposed new Act would make a meaningful inquiry impossible.” Judge Cory noted that “the Minister, the actions of whose ministry was to be reviewed by the public inquiry would have the authority to thwart the efforts of the inquiry at every step” and he concluded that he “cannot contemplate any self respecting Canadian judge accepting an appointment to an inquiry constituted under the new proposed act”.
We agree with all of these views and urge Parliament to take them very seriously. An inquiry held under the Bill as currently drafted would not be effective, independent, impartial or thorough, nor would the evidence presented to it be subject to sufficient public scrutiny. Such an inquiry would fall far short of the requirement of international human rights law that an effective remedy be provided to the victims of human rights violations. Moreover, the passage of the Inquiries Bill in its current form would do great harm to the tradition of public inquiries in the UK and would undermine the important principles of accountability and transparency. In order to command public confidence, it is absolutely necessary that an inquiries system permit close independent public scrutiny and provide for the active participation of the relevant victims. The Inquiries Bill does not do this.
On 27 January 1977, Michael McHugh was murdered by two members of the UDA, one of them a British Army agent, at Aghyaran or Corgary near Castlederg, County Tyrone.
Michael McHugh was a 32-year-old forestry worker. He had been active in Sinn Féin where he was chairman of the local cumann for a period but had resigned this position before he was assassinated. Michael's house was continually raided by the British Army and the RUC. Not a month passed by when he wasn't arrested or stopped, so much so that after his death his wife accused the British Army of 'putting a name on him'.
After Michael was murdered, Fr Denis Faul, a local priest, disclosed that he had sent copies of a letter threatening McHugh to the RUC and British Army in Omagh for investigation. The letter had been sent to McHugh on 29 October 1976. Faul maintained that the style of the letter was 'British', drawing attention to the use of words like 'kiddies', 'kids', 'dad' and 'cheerio'. It is believed the letter was typed in a UDR base and posted in Belfast. The death letter read:-
Just a few lines to let you know your name has been added to our list. By our 'List' we mean our vermin extermination list.
Its really too bad that your kids will not have a Daddy, but on second thoughts, none would be better than the rat they have for one now.
We know you work part-time in the Forestry-Division and your old yellow lorry.... has been followed by some of us from time to time. We already have our plans made and are just about waiting for the correct time to carry out the execution. Won't the world be a better place without scum like you? Where you are going you won't be able to make any more false accusations or write to any newspapers.
Remember, when you are doing a bit of farming, keep looking behind. No, don't worry, we won't take you from behind. We like scum like you to see what's coming to them.
Wouldn't it be a sin if anything happened to your kiddies? All because of the action of their dad.
See you soon, Michael
Michael McHugh was continually followed by a UDR man who threatened and harassed him. A week before he died Michael mentioned him to his wife and said: "If anything happens to me he will have something to do with it." With the kidnapping of Dr Tiede Herrema, on 3 of October 1975, the vicinity of McHugh's home began to be searched by the British Army who believed that the IRA were crossing into the area from Donegal. Houses were raided including McHugh's. During these searches two 'civilian representatives' from the British Army barracks began to call at Michael McHugh's house. They often drew the conversation into political problems, and were seen on occasions walking in the fields. On one occasion they even offered Michael McHugh a gun for his protection.
Michael McHugh's murder was carried out as the letter predicted on 21 January 1977. He had just left his wife Mary, a schoolteacher and two daughters aged four and two, and driven down the lane in his yellow lorry, on his way to work at the Killester Forest. His wife heard three bursts of machine-gun fire. When she looked out she saw the lorry with its headlights on. She ran out and saw her husband's body lying beside the lorry. Later an anonymous telephone caller in Derry claiming to represent the UFF admittedresponsibility for the killing and claimed that McHugh was the IRA's West Tyrone commander, a claim denied by republicans and his family to this day. The caller said that the murder had been carried out by the West Tyrone unit of the UFF.
Ten years later, in 1987, following the evidence of an informer, nine UDA men were sentenced for crimes ranging from robbery and hijacking to murder. They were all from the Derry area. One of them, William Bredin, originally from Moville, County Donegal, was sentenced to life for the murder of Michael McHugh. He pleaded guilty and so few details were revealed in court.
RUC/UDR Death Squad Activities Exposed
A report released today by an international panel of human rights investigators has found significant and credible evidence of Royal Ulster Constabulary and British army collusion in 74 sectarian murders during the most recent conflict in Ireland.
An investigation of 25 loyalist atrocities during the 1970s by the panel of human rights experts said senior RUC officers were aware and approved of collusion while officials in London had enough information to intervene.
The murder gang was based at the UDR base at Glennane in South Armagh.
The panel have called on the British government to appoint an independent inquiry to examine exactly how high up the chain of command collusion went.
The group was asked by Derry-based human rights organisation the Pat Finucane Centre to investigate the 25 incidents.
Among the controversial murders they investigated were:
Among the witnesses they interviewed about security force collusion with loyalists were former British army intelligence officer Fred Holroyd, ex-civil servant Colin Wallace, former RUC officers John Weir and Billy McCaughey.
The group also revealed it was told during its investigation that gardaí in the republic failed to co-operate in apprehending republicans for their involvement in killings in the north.
In their 115-page report, the panel said today:"Credible evidence indicates that superiors of violent extremist officers and agents, at least within the RUC, were aware of their sectarian crimes yet failed to act to prevent, investigate or punish them.
"On the contrary, they allegedly made statements that appeared to condone participation in these crimes.
"Even after Weir and another officer confessed in 1978 - information that should have blown the lid off RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment involvement in murdering Catholics - police investigations and ensuing prosecutions were inadequate by any reasonable standard.
"As early as 1973, senior officials of the United Kingdom were put on notice of the danger - and indeed some of the facts - of sectarian violence by UDR soldiers using stolen UDR weapons and ammunition, and supported by UDR training and information.
"At least by 1975, senior officials were also informed that some RUC police officers were 'very close' to extremist paramilitaries."
In only one case, the group was unable to reach a verdict on collusion because of conflicting accounts - the murder of 51-year-old driver James Marks and 78-year-old passenger Joseph Toland in a gun attack in Gilford, Co Armagh, on a minibus returning from bingo.
While the international panel welcomed reforms introduced by the British government to investigate the controversial murders, they claimed they were still insufficient for getting to the heart of collusion cases.
They said the north's police ombudsman Nuala O'Loan did not have the powers to investigate collusion involving members of the UDR.The £30 million Historical Enquiries Team, set up by PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde, also fell short of international standards for investigations.
The panel called for:
Copies of the 108-page report have been given to the British government and the Police Ombudsman's Office.The independent panel who produced the report were: Professor Douglass Cassel of Notre Dame Law School in the US; Susie Kemp, an international lawyer based in The Hague; Piers Pigou - an investigator for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Stephen Sawyer of Northwestern University School of Law.
Last year, the Irish government said it was giving Tony Blair a final chance to aid an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he may take a case to the European Court of Human Rights if Mr Blair did not hand over British government files on the bombings.
No-one was convicted of the bombings.
Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armag,h Conor Murphy, who attended today's report launch said:
"Nationalists and republicans in South Armagh know only too well the legacy of the UDR/RUC unionist murder gang which operated from the Glennane base. This report lifts the lid on their involvement in over 70 sectarian murders and exposes the fact that senior figures in the RUC were fully aware of the killings and the role of their colleagues in them. The evidence is simply irrefutable.
"For many years Sinn Féin was a lone voice in exposing British State collusion with unionist paramilitaries. We were vilified by the political and media establishment who dismissed claims of collusion as 'republican propaganda'. We have now been vindicated and will continue to stand with the families of those killed by the British State in their search for the truth."The British State is going to have to face up to its role in the systematic murder of over 1100 nationalists and republicans both directly and through their surrogates in the various unionist death squads."
The British government told the panel it would be inappropriate to comment on their findings as the murders are the subject of inquiries by a number of agencies.
Finds British Collusion 'Widespread'
British security forces colluded in acts of international terrorism in the 1970s, a Dáil Committee has said in a hard-hitting report.
"The spectre of collusion" was present in the attacks investigated by the probe into a series of bomb and gun attacks carried out by loyalist paramilitaries.
At a press conference in the grounds of the Dáil in Dublin, the committee concluded that British security force members were involved in the attacks: "We now have enough information to be fully satisfied not only that it (collusion) occurred, but that it was widespread."
It added: "The sub-committee notes that the British cabinet was aware of the level to which the security forces had been infiltrated by terrorists and we believe that its inadequate response to this knowledge permitted the problem to continue and to grow."
The Report's conclusions include the following:
"The Sub-Committee is left in no doubt that collusion between the British security forces and terrorists was behind many if not all of the atrocities that are considered in this report. We are horrified that persons who were employed by the British administration to preserve peace and to protect people were engaged in the creation of violence and the butchering of innocent victims."
And: "The Sub-Committee is of the view that given that we are dealing with acts of international terrorism that were colluded in by the British security forces, the British Government cannot legitimately refuse to co-operate with investigations and attempts to get to the truth."
And: "We believe that there is an abundance of information to suggest that there was reasonable if not significant, knowledge on this side of the border that British security personnel were working with and as loyalist paramilitaries. The fact that little or nothing was done to address this is, to put it mildly, alarming."
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the findings were very disturbing.
"The findings in this report regarding collusion are deeply troubling and a matter of most serious concern. They paint a very disturbing picture," he said.
"We have consistently pressed the British government for any co-operation they can provide in relation to all of these incidents."
And he said it was absolutely essential the British government examine the findings of all of the reports on collusion.
Mr Ahern said the terror attacks occurred during a dark and tragic period of Irish history and asked people to think of the victims.
The two governments have been in contact today, with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern meeting British direct rule secretary Peter Hain.
Mr Ahern said: "I advised him of the Irish government's grave concern at the contents of the report, and of allegations of involvement of members of British security forces in these appalling events.
"I stressed the importance of full and unfettered British co-operation with the ongoing investigations and inquiries into these matters, as the government has consistently made clear to the British government."
Pat Finucane Centre researcher Alan Brecknell, whose father died in one of the gun/bomb attacks carried out by members of a UVF/RUC/UDR gang based at Glenanne in South Armagh, welcomed the report and called on Peter Hain to "release the documents which, to date, have been withheld from the Irish government, NGOs and families."
He added: "It's time to come clean on the links between the northern security forces and loyalist paramilitaries."
The nine attacks — a litany of terror and death
KAY’S TAVERN IN DUNDALK
On December 19, 1975, a car bomb exploded outside Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk killing two people, Hugh Watters, 60, and Jack Rooney, 62. Nobody was every charged. Judge Barron concluded that the bombing was carried out by Loyalist extremists, probably from the Mid Ulster UVF.
He found the security forces in the North knew or should have known but that it was impossible to prove or disprove allegations of collusion.
THE BOMBING AT CASTLEBLAYNEY
On March 7, 1976, a car bomb exploded outside the Three Star Inn in Castleblayney killing Patrick Mone, a 56-year-old farmer. Another 26 people were injured.
The garda investigation report concluded that somebody from the North was responsible.
The explosive had been provided by a named UDR officer and were stored in a farmhouse in Glennane.
The target may have been the Derry to Dublin Ulsterbus, due to arrive at the exact spot that night. Nobody from the Gardaí got in contact with the families after the first statement was given.
THE DUBLIN AIRPORT BOMBING
On 29 November, 1975, a bomb exploded in a cubicle in the gents toilet on the ground floor of the airport, killing John Francis Hayes, 38, from Balbriggan and injuring five others.
The Belfast brigade of the UDA claimed responsibility. Nobody was ever prosecuted and the investigation was quickly abandoned.
GUN AND BOMB ATTACK AT DONNELLY’S BAR
It happened on December 19, 1975, the same evening as the Kay’s Tavern bombing. Three people were killed at Donnelly’s and it’s believed the two attacks were linked. It was claimed by the Red Hand Commandos, a cover name used by subversives for attacks not sanctioned by the UVF leadership.
A man drove up after 9pm and started shooting. One or two gunmen went into the pub and started shooting for 30 seconds or so. As they left, one of them threw a bomb into the bar, killing three persons, Patrick Donnelly, 24; Michael Donnelly, 14, and Trevor Brecknell, 32.
No person was ever charged.
GUN ATTACK ON THE REAVEY FAMILY
On January 4, 1976, three sons of the Reavey family were watching television in the living room of their home near Markethill, Co Armagh, when three masked gunmen entered the house, and one of them started firing a machine gun.
All three brothers, John Martin, Brian and Anthony died as a result of the attack. Another brother, Eugene, said that an RUC officer had identified three people as being involved in the attack. The case was never pursued.
BOMB ATTACK ON STEP INN IN KEADY
On August 16, 1976, a bomb exploded in the Step Inn in Keady. Two people died, Gerald McGleenan, 22, and Betty McDonald.
GUN ATTACK ON THE O’DOWD FAMILY
On January 4, 1975, three masked man arrived at the house in Gilford, Co Down, where 16 members of the family were present. They opened fire without warning killing three male members of the family — Barry, Declan and Joe O’Dowd. Áine O’Dowd was also injured. The family may have been targeted because some worked in the SDLP. A former RUC officer, John Weir, alleged they had been shot by a named person.
THE ATTACK ON THE ROCK BAR
On June 5, 1976, a gun and bomb attack on the Three Rock Bar near Keady in Co Armagh injured a number of people. Over two years later, an RUC sergeant confessed his involvement in the attack and two other RUC officers later admitted they participated in the attack. A further officer was prosecuted.
One officer was sentenced to seven years but the three others received a suspended sentence.
GUN AMBUSH ON THE MIAMI SHOWBAND
On July 30, 1975, the Miami Showband played a gig at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down. Five members of the band travelled south in a minibus in the early hours of the morning. At around 2.30am on July 31, the bus was flagged down by a group of armed men wearing army-type uniforms. The band members were told to stand outside the van with their hands on their heads.
A few seconds later there was a loud explosion from the rear of the van and two of the gunmen were killed instantly. There were than a number of bursts of gunfire.
Three of the band were killed. They were the lead singer, Fran O’Toole, Anthony Geraghty and Brian McCoy. Stephen Travers was badly injured and Des McAlea managed to escape by fleeing across a field.
Two members of the UDR were subsequently charged with murder, were convicted and imprisoned for life. A former member of the UDR was also imprisoned at a later stage.
Families deserve judicial inquiry into collusion
By Jim Gibney
In a filing cabinet inside the office of Nuala O’Loan, the police ombudsman, there is a damning report into collusion between the RUC Special Branch and the UVF in north Belfast.
In a filing cabinet inside the Belfast office of the Public Prosecution Service there is a report into collusion between the crown forces and loyalists. The report could, if acted on, lead to serious charges being laid against 24 members of the crown forces.
There are many files in many filing cabinets in government offices in Dublin, Belfast and London, containing reports into collusion arising from enquiries – Stalker, Samson, Stevens, Cory, Barron, McEntee.
These files tell the startling story of British state forces, as a matter of policy, using loyalists to kill civilians, primarily Catholics.
Collusion is under scrutiny in public inquiries into the killings of Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright.
The British government is trying to prevent the truth emerging about the extent and depth of collusion in the killing of Pat Finucane. Every loyalist involved was an agent.
Two weeks ago a report into the deaths by loyalists of 18 people, by a joint committee of the Oireachtas, revealed that the Irish government in 1975 complained to Harold Wilson, then British prime minster and later Margaret Thatcher, that their forces were using loyalists to kill people north and south.
The committee’s report also censured the Irish government and the Gardai for cooperating with the crown forces when they knew, “…that British security personnel were working with, and as, loyalist paramilitaries” were killing Irish citizens.
O’Loan’s report will tell the incredible, harrowing and disturbing tale of a UVF unit run by the RUC Special Branch through their agent Mark Haddock. It is believed this unit was responsible for killing 21, perhaps many more, Catholics and Protestants between 1991 and 2000.
This unit is also linked through another agent to the massacre in Loughinisland when loyalists killed six people in June 1994.
The agent nicknamed the ‘mechanic’ previously owned the car used by the killers and told The Irish News he passed on this information to the RUC and was released without charge. The PSNI later destroyed this car and potential vital forensic evidence in the massacre.
Those responsible for these killings were protected by the Special Branch.
The only reason there is a public focus on the activities of the Mount Vernon UVF is because Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond was killed by them, relentlessly pursued his killers.
Two years ago he convinced O’Loan to help him. Her report may well prove to be as devastating in its findings on collusion as others like Stevens’s investigation into the killing of Pat Finucane. Or the exposure of senior UDA figure Brian Nelson and his handler Brigadier Gordon Kerr who was in charge of the Force Research Unit, the organisation which directed the loyalists. After reading the report Peter Hain described it as “extremely uncomfortable for the British state”.
A former RUC detective Johnston Brown has stated publicly that three weeks after the killing of Sharon McKenna in January 1993 Haddock could have been charged with the killing. Had this happened many people now dead might still be alive. The Special Branch prevented Haddock from being charged. Brown further claims the protection of Haddock is not an isolated case.
Haddock’s reign of terror ended not as a result of anything the RUC or PSNI did. He is in jail today because a person he savagely assaulted lived and gave evidence in court against him.
During the conflict loyalist paramilitaries killed more than 1,000 Catholics and nationalists. There is growing evidence that British crown forces were involved with loyalists in all of these murders.
A few years ago such a claim would have been dismissed. Not any longer such is the scale of collusion revealed in the many enquiries confirming what Sinn Fein were saying for years while others including the SDLP were silent.
The case for an international, independent judicial enquiry into collusion is both overwhelming and compelling. The British and Irish governments should jointly sponsor such an inquiry. If the British refuse then the Irish government should proceed.
They owe it to the families of those killed.
Over ten years of cover-ups left nineteen people dead
RUC’s Special Branch gave Mount Vernon UVF a licence to kill
17 January 1993, Sharon McKenna:
17 May 1994, Eamon Fox and Gary Convie:
17 June 1994, Cecil Dougherty and William Corrigan:
18 June 1994, Adrian Rogan, Malcolm Jenkinson, Barney Greene, Daniel McCreanor, Patrick O'Hare, Eamon Byrne:
21 March 1996, Tommy Sheppard:
24 March 1997, Rev David Templeton:
19 May 1997, William Harbinson:
9 November 1997, Raymond McCord Jnr:
28 October 2000, David Greer:
31 October 2000, Tommy English:
John Allen - 8 November 2003:
What sparked the probe?
Three years ago York Road man Raymond McCord Snr walked into the city centre office of Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. He asked her to investigate whether Special Branch officers covered up the 1997 UVF murder of his son, Raymond Jnr, to protect informants in the gang.
Mr McCord's claim, later backed up by retired RUC detectives Jonty Brown and Trevor McIlwrath, sparked what would become the ombudsman's biggest ever probe.
The McCord family's problems with the UVF began when they moved to the Mount Vernon estate in 1996 after being forced out of their Rathcoole home by the UDA.
Seeking protection, Raymond Jnr, joined the UVF. The unit's leader, the Special Branch agent Haddock, used him to ferry drugs around.
When Haddock was jailed in the summer of 1997 Raymond Jnr was summoned to a meeting of UVF leaders on the Shankill Road. They wanted to know how much cash Haddock was raking in from the sale of ecstasy and cannabis.
Haddock feared Raymond Jnr was going to reveal all.
Three UVF men called to the 22-year-old's Mount Vernon home and took him to a quarry in Newtownabbey where he was beaten to death.
Raymond Jnr knew they were coming. His best friend, the Special Branch agent Judas, had told him so. But he also told him that he was only going to receive a punishment shooting.
Naïvely, Raymond Jnr believed his UVF pal. He even went as far as to change into old clothes, so as not to damage his new jeans. The beating he received at the hands of the UVF was so severe that the coffin lid had to remain closed during his wake.
His campaigning father, Raymond McCord Snr, is hopeful the ombudsman's report into his son's death will result in charges being brought against those involved. “I want to see the cops who covered for their informants charged as well as them men who murdered my son,” he said.
“They are every bit as guilty as the scumbags who beat young Raymond with breeze-blocks.” Mr McCord has met with every political party on the island of Ireland to highlight his son's case.
His biggest breakthrough came in October 2005 when Irish Labour leader Pat Rabbitte used parliamentary privilege to name in the Dáil those allegedly involved in Raymond Jnr's murder.
Mr Rabbitte said: “The UVF murdered Raymond McCord because he had been summoned by John ‘Bunter' Graham, the officer commanding the UVF on the Shankill Road, to account for his role in ferrying drugs for Mark Haddock.
“He was murdered to prevent Graham finding out about Haddock's unsanctioned drugs operations. At least two members of the gang who carried out the murder were Special Branch informers. They were Mark Haddock, who ordered the murder, and John Bond, who was present when Raymond McCord was murdered.” Mr Rabbitte said he had information Haddock had been involved in eight murders since his recruitment as a Special Branch informer.
He said the murders are Sharon McKenna, Gary Convie, Eamon Fox, Rev David Templeton, Billy Harbinson, Tommy English, David Greer and Raymond McCord Junior.
“The central allegation is that Haddock was not charged with any crime because he was an informer who had to be protected,” added Mr Rabbitte. “He was able to act with impunity, while the police effectively colluded in his crimes.”
Ombudsman also examined several attempted murders
Aside from the murder of more than a dozen people by informants within the Mount Vernon UVF, the Police Ombudsman investigation looks at a number of other incidents.
These include attempts to murder Bawnmore cab driver John Flynn, an attempt to blow up a Sinn Féin office in Monaghan, the release of a convicted UVF killer from police questioning and a death threat issued against campaigning father Raymond McCord.
John Flynn: The UVF tired to kill the Bawnmore man outside Whiteabbey Hospital in 1990. Mr Flynn had gone there to pick up a cab fare only to discover a gunman waiting on him.
The gunman is believed to have been Special Branch agent Mark Haddock. Mr Flynn wrestled with the gunman and managed to get the gun from him. The UVF informant escaped in a waiting car.
Mr Flynn handed the weapon over to the RUC. He gave a detailed description of the gunman as well as handing over a jumper he was wearing that was covered in his attacker's blood.
Despite this wealth of forensic evidence the gunman was never charged. The following year the UVF put a booby trap bomb under Mr Flynn's car outside a house in Bawnmore. Moments later the loyalist gang were stopped in a car by the RUC.
They were taken to Newtownabbey RUC station, but were not charged. Among the gang was a Special Branch agent known as the Beast. He went on to murder Catholic Sean McParland in Skegoniel in 1994.
The Beast is the current commander of the Southeast Antrim UVF.
Monaghan Sinn Féin office bombing: In 1997 the Mount Vernon UVF attempted to blow up the Sinn Féin office in Monaghan town.
A loyalist gang left a power-gel explosives package at the front door, however it failed to detonate properly.
Three agents were involved in the explosion attempt, including the informants code-named Haddocks and Mechanic. Although Special Branch had prior knowledge of the attack they did nothing to prevent it taking place.
Angus Knell: The Newtownabbey loyalist was convicted in 1976 of murdering Catholic barman Eugene McDonagh.
On his release from jail he became involved with the UVF's political wing, the PUP.
He was part of its talks team in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
In November 1997 Knell was arrested for questioning about the UVF murder of Raymond McCord Jnr. He was taken to Gough barracks but released a short time later. Former Secretary of State Mo Mowlam, who died last year, ordered Knell's release to prevent the PUP withdrawing from the talks.
Raymond McCord death threat: In May 1999 Raymond McCord complained to police that a leading Mount Vernon loyalist had threatened to kill him.
A man was arrested and charged, however RUC officers told Mr McCord the following month that the charges had been dropped.
They said the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided there was not enough evidence to proceed.
Mr McCord refused to accept this explanation and after getting in touch with the DPP discovered that the RUC had not sent it any files on the case.
He sees this as further proof of how Special Branch officers were protecting informants in the Mount Vernon UVF.
Former cops claim lives could have been saved
“If we had been allowed to charge him after the McKenna murder, who knows how many people might still be alive?"
These are the words of CID detective Trevor McIlwrath, the cop who recruited UVF man Mark Haddock, code-named, Roxy as a teen, and who said he was later prevented by Special Branch from charging him with murder.
Haddock was one of McIlwrath's many informants in the Mount Vernon estate during the late 1980s.
As a young man he had been in trouble with the police for burglary and arson. During questioning for these offences he agreed to provide McIlwrath with information on low-level crime in the fiercely loyalist estate.
When Haddock joined the UVF in 1990 control of him passed from CID to Special Branch, which handled all paramilitary agents. But because McIlwrath had known Haddock for a long time he would still meet with the detective to offer bits of information.
The night after the Sharon McKenna murder, 18 January 1993, Haddock spoke to McIlwrath and Brown in a car at Arthur's Bridge, Newtownabbey.
They say he told them that the previous night he had murdered Ms McKenna at a house on the Shore Road.
The detectives said they went back to their bosses with the confession. They wanted to arrange further meetings with Haddock to get more information. However, they were told to drop the matter.
Both men are convinced that had they been allowed to pursue Haddock up to a dozen lives could have been saved.
“He was untouchable, totally off-limits," said McIlwrath.
“Here we had a man admitting to a callous sectarian murder and we were not allowed to go after him.”
Referring to Haddock and other informants in the Mount Vernon UVF who were allowed to escape murder charges, Jonty Brown said: “Could we have put the majority of them in jail in 1997, 1998, 1999? Absolutely.
“Lives would have been saved time and time again. There appeared to be no will to prosecute certain individuals."
McKenna killing a turning point
January 17, 1993 – that was the date when Mark Haddock, agent Roxy, the Special Branch informer at the heart of the Mount Vernon UVF, went from saving lives to taking lives.
He had been a UVF member for three years but had never committed murder. When a number of UVF operations Haddock was involved in were compromised his paramilitary bosses became suspicious.
Information he provided to his Special Branch handlers led to the arrest of four armed loyalists in Newtownabbey in 1991. One of the men, Colin Caldwell, died in an IRA bomb attack at Crumlin Road prison in November of that year.
Having suspected Roxy as a mole for some time the leaders of the Southeast Antrim UVF summoned him to a house in the Mount Vernon estate.
They then ordered him to do what they believed no informer could – commit murder.
Haddock was handed a shotgun and told to kill Catholic taxi-driver Sharon McKenna at the Shore Road home of an elderly Protestant friend. The UVF had been monitoring the Glengormley woman's movements. The double agent panicked, telling his bosses he wanted to change his clothes first.
However, they warned him that he had to carry out the killing immediately. Haddock and a second gunman went to the pensioner's home, found Ms McKenna in the hallway and blasted her with shotguns. She died instantly.
The following day an emotional Haddock contacted his old CID handler Trevor McIlwrath. He recruited Roxy as a petty criminal, before the agent was passed to Special Branch when he joined the UVF.
Despite this the two still met regularly. In a car parked under Arthur's Bridge, Newtownabbey, Haddock told McIlwrath and his partner Jonty Brown of his role in the McKenna murder. The informant sobbed uncontrollably throughout the meeting. McIlwrath and Brown went back to their RUC bosses to inform them of the confession.
They wanted to arrange further meetings with Haddock to gain more information and to charge him with the McKenna murder.
However, they were told not to pursue the matter. Haddock’s remorse soon turned to relief when he realised that his role as an informant prevented him from being charged with the McKenna murder. In his eyes he effectively had a licence to kill. Special Branch had created a monster and Roxy would go on to murder again, safe in the knowledge he was free from prosecution.
Mount Vernon gang riddled with informers
During the mid-1990s the Mount Vernon UVF had a hardcore of 12 members, known locally as the ‘Dirty Dozen'.
They were responsible for a series of murders, shootings, beatings and bombings throughout the Shore Road and Newtownabbey areas. They were led by Special Branch agent Mark Haddock and his closest friends. Security sources estimate that at least six members of the Dirty Dozen worked as police informants.
These include Haddock, a man known as the Beast who was once a close pal of his turned bitter rival, and a third UVF figure nicknamed Judas. A fourth tout was code-named Mechanic. Born a Catholic and brought up in the New Lodge he was the most peculiar member of the Mount Vernon unit.
It was Mechanic who provided the car used by the UVF in the 1994 Loughinisland massacre in which six people died. The agent fled the North in the summer of 1997 after being unmasked as an informant.
Although living in secret in England he is still in contact with Haddock and is godfather to his daughter who was born a Catholic and is being raised in the South.
Other agents within the Mount Vernon UVF include Big Bozo who was involved in the murder of Raymond McCord Jnr, and a bespectacled thug who shares a nickname with a famous London gangster.
Only the Beast, Judas and Big Bozo remain members of the UVF.
But sources are predicting their time in the group is at an end with the organisation set to move against them after the publication of the Police Ombudsman's report.
The three have been the subject of an internal investigation for a number of months. The UVF is understood to be waiting to see the findings of the ombudsman investigation before taking action.
Haddock survived murder bid when out on bail for attempted murder
Although the UVF has been on ceasefire since 1994 its Mount Vernon unit has, as recently as last summer, been trying to murder people.
On May 30 former leading North Belfast loyalist Mark Haddock was shot six times by UVF Mount Vernon gunmen in Newtownabbey.
The 37-year-old, who was on bail at the time, miraculously survived the attack.
Two close friends of the victim were charged with his attempted murder.
However, the case against Darren Stuart Moore and Ronald Trevor Bowe collapsed late last year when Haddock withdrew statements he had made to the PSNI.
Haddock and Moore were once best pals and in 2003 they were both charged with attempting to murder nightclub bouncer Trevor Gowdy.
Also charged in connection with the attack were David ‘Reggie' Millar, Alexander Thomas Wood, Jason Loughlin and William Loughlin.
When the case finally reached court last year charges against five of the men were dropped, leaving only Haddock in the dock.
He was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Because of time already served on remand and the 50 per cent remission rule he will be free in 2008. The Gowdy attack was not Haddock's first brush with the law.
In 1997 Haddock, Moore and ten others from the Mount Vernon estate were jailed following an attack on LVF supporters at the Golden Hind bar in Portadown.
They were charged with possession of a firearm, imitation firearms, sledgehammers, cudgels, gloves and inflammable liquid under suspicious circumstances.
The 12 are: Mark Alan Quail, James Dodds, John Patterson Hill, Barry Stockman, Gary Haggarty, Albert Andrew Ferran, David Hugh Miller, Darren Stuart Moore, Mark Haddock, William Logue, Clarke Wallace and Ronald Bowe.
Ombudsman's report revealed
A loyalist paramilitary gang was involved in up to 15 murders while working as police informers, a damning report has revealed.
The Ulster Volunteer Force members, based in north Belfast, were protected by Special Branch handlers to ensure they escaped prosecution, with vital intelligence withheld from detectives investigating the killings, a three- year inquiry found.
The man at the centre of Police Ombudsman Nuala O`Loan`s examination of the scandal, identified in her 160-page report only as Informant No 1 but known to be ex-terror chief Mark Haddock, was paid at least £79,840 during the period under investigation from 1991 to 2003.
The Ombudsman concluded that her investigation had established collusion between certain officers within Special Branch and the UVF team based in the city`s Mount Vernon district.
Her staff identified intelligence within the policing system, most of which was graded by police as reliable and probably true and corroborated by other sources, which linked the informants to the murders of 10 people.
They were also associated with another 72 crimes, including 10 attempted murders, 10 punishment shootings, 13 punishment attacks, a bombing in Monaghan in the Irish Republic, and 17 instances of drug dealing as well as additional criminal damage, extortion and intimidation.
The Police Ombudsman`s investigators also identified less significant and reliable intelligence linking the UVF men to an additional five murders.
The chilling revelations are massively damaging for policing in Northern Ireland, and deal a shattering blow to the reputation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Mrs O`Loan said: "It would be easy to blame the junior officers` conduct in dealing with various informants and indeed they are not blameless.
"However, they could not have operated as they did without the knowledge and support at the highest level of the RUC and the PSNI."
The investigation was the most complex ever undertaken by the Ombudsman, with more than 100 serving and retired police officers interviewed, 24 of them under caution.
Police computer systems were examined and more than 10,000 items of police documentation recovered, including material held within intelligence systems, on personal records, in police journals, in crime files and from other sources.
Mrs O`Loan`s inquiry began by examining the murder of Raymond McCord Junior, 22, a former RAF man found beaten to death in a quarry on the northern outskirts of Belfast in November 1997.
Information held by police, and corroborated by other sources, indicates that Haddock, who was in prison at the time, ordered his murder and that another man, out on leave from jail, carried it out, the report found.
The suspects were later arrested, questioned and released without charge.
The Ombudsman`s staff have identified a series of failures with the murder investigation which may have significantly reduced the chances of anyone ever being prosecuted, including a failure to seize a suspect`s clothing from prison and the destruction of exhibits such as the car believed to have been used in the attack.
As Mrs O`Loan`s inquiry widened out to include a catalogue of killings, her investigators looked at the files on the murder of Peter McTasney in Belfast in February 1991.
The report revealed that Informant No 1, Haddock, was arrested and questioned a total of 19 times. His handlers carried out the main interviews.
One of those handlers said they "babysat" him through the interview and that notes were completed which did not reflect what happened in the interview, the Ombudsman found.
A combined file for the McTasney murder and an earlier attempted killing was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and two men later convicted.
But Special Branch, with the agreement of a Deputy Assistant Chief Constable, did not disclose to the DPP the involvement of a police agent, the report alleged.
Another of the UVF murders under scrutiny, that of Catholic taxi driver Sharon McKenna who was shot dead in January 1993, found that Special Branch authorised the arrest of Informant No 1.
He was detained for six days and interviewed 37 times, with his handler carrying out some of the questioning, the Ombudsman`s dossier said.
Another of those present told her investigators that he "felt like a gooseberry" sitting in on the interviews as he knew Informant No 1 was a police source and would say nothing of relevance in front of him.
Again the suspect was released without charge.
Within weeks, Haddock`s monthly retainer was increased from £100 to £160, even though he was a main suspect in the investigation, the report revealed.
During their investigation into the double murder of Gary Convie and Eamon Fox, who were shot dead on a Belfast building site in May 1994, the Ombudsman`s staff established that the gunman was said to have a goatee beard.
When Informant No 1 was arrested he had such a beard but was allowed to shave it off while in custody, the report alleged.
No identity parade was held and once again the suspect was released without charge.
As part of the inquiry, investigators also examined terrorist attacks below in the southof Ireland, including a planned bomb strike in Dublin where Informant No 1 gave police information which helped ensure the attack was aborted.
Special Branch officers were instructed not to record the details of this planned bombing, the report said.
But within two weeks, in March 1997, Sinn Fein officers in Monaghan were bombed.
Intelligence held by police implicates police informants, including Haddock.
None of this information was passed to the Gardai, the Ombudsman established.
Operation Ballast: Public Statement
The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has released the findings of her three-and-a-half-year investigation into a series of complaints about police conduct in relation to the murder of Raymond McCord Junior in November 1997.
Mrs Nuala O'Loan has upheld a complaint from his father, Raymond McCord, that over a number of years police acted in such a way as to protect informants from being fully accountable to the law.
An initial investigation into Mr McCord's complaints revealed issues of concern in relation to a series of other incidents - including murders, attempted murders and drug dealing.
As a result, the Police Ombudsman's investigation quickly expanded to cover the period from 1991-2003. It looked at one police informant in particular - Informant 1 - and at his associates, many of whom were also police informants and members of a UVF unit in North Belfast and Newtownabbey.
The investigation has proved the most complex ever undertaken by the Police Ombudsman. More than 100 serving and retired police officers were interviewed, 24 of them 'under caution.' Members of the public were also interviewed.
Police computer systems were examined and more than 10,000 items of police documentation was recovered, including material held within intelligence systems, on personal records, in police journals, in crime files and from other sources. Corroborating material was also recovered from a number of other, non-police, "agencies."
The Police Ombudsman has identified that intelligence held within the policing system, the majority of which has been graded by police as a "reliable and probably true" and which has been corroborated from other sources, which links police informants to:
Police Ombudsman investigators have also identified less significant and reliable intelligence which links Informant 1 and his associates to an additional five murders
During this period the Police Ombudsman has estimated that payments of at least £79,840 were made to Informant 1, which included a series of incentive payments (30.0 - 30.10)
Informants were reportedly 'babysat' through interviews to held them avoid incriminating themselves, false notes were created and searches of houses to locate UVF arms and the search of a UVF arms dump were blocked for no valid reason (23.1-23.14.)
In addition, misleading information was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and vital intelligence likely to have assisted in the investigation of serious crimes, including murder, was withheld from police investigation teams.
The Police Ombudsman's Office has encountered a number of difficulties during this investigation, including the fact that a number of documents were either missing, lost or destroyed. These included parts of murder files, decision logs and intelligence documents. This general absence of records has prevented senior officers from being held to account. The Police Ombudsman is of the view that this was not an oversight but was a deliberate strategy and had the effect of avoiding proper accountability. (8.1-8.19 and 33.6)
Mrs O'Loan has concluded that her investigation has established collusion between certain officers within Special Branch and a UVF unit in North Belfast and Newtownabbey. (32.1- 32.5)
"It would be easy to blame the junior officers' conduct in dealing with various informants and indeed they are not blameless. However, they could not have operated as they did without the knowledge and support at the highest levels of the RUC and the PSNI," she said.
Mrs O'Loan said she believed a culture of subservience to Special Branch had developed within the RUC which had created a form of dysfunction.
"The effect of that dysfunction was that, whilst undoubtedly Special Branch officers were effective in preventing bombings, shootings and other attacks, some informants were able to continue to engage in terrorist activities, including murder, without the Criminal Investigation Department having the ability to deal with them for some of these offences."
Mrs O'Loan has said she believes the PSNI has made significant changes and introduced new policies in relation to its handling of informants. She said the PSNI have also accepted all of the recommendations contained in her statement:
"This has been a difficult and at times very sad investigation, both to conduct and to report on. I am satisfied that the PSNI have accepted the mistakes of the past and put in place policies and procedures to help ensure they will not happen in the future."
1. The Murder of Raymond McCord Junior (9.1-9.35)
Raymond McCord Junior was found beaten to death in Ballyduff Quarry on 9 November 1997. Information held by the police, and corroborated from a number of sources, indicates that Informant 1, who was in prison at the time, ordered his murder and that another man, who was on leave from the prison, carried it out.
Informant 1 and his associates were eventually arrested for the murder, questioned and released without charge.
The Police Ombudsman has established that there were a number of failures with the murder investigation which may have significantly reduced the possibility of anyone ever being prosecuted for the crime. They include a failure to seize a suspect's clothing from prison and the destruction of exhibits, including the car believed to have been used in the attack.
The Police Ombudsman found no evidence that police knew what was going to happen to Mr McCord, nor that they could have warned him or his family about the danger.
2. The Murder of Peter McTasney. (10.5 -10.16)
Peter McTasney was murdered at Bawnmore in Belfast on 24 February 1991.
Later that year, when police were interviewing suspects about an attempted murder, which Informant 1 had told them about and was believed to have been involved in, they established that the gun used was the one used to kill Mr McTasney and was linked to a series of attempted murders.
Informant 1 was arrested and interviewed a total of 19 times. His 'handlers' conducted the main interviews. One of those handlers has said they 'babysat' him though the interviews and that notes were completed which did not reflect what happened in the interview. Informant I was subsequently released without charge.
A combined file for the murder of Mr McTasney and the earlier attempted murder was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Two men were subsequently convicted. Special Branch, with the agreement of a Deputy Assistant Chief Constable, did not disclose to the DPP the involvement of a police agent.
3. The Murder of Sharon McKenna. (13.1 - 13.49)
Sharon McKenna was shot dead on January 17 1993.
A Detective Sergeant and a Detective Constable have both said Informant 1 admitted to them being one of the gunmen involved in the murder. Separate police documentation from the time also records 'high grade,' information that Informant 1 was involved.
Authorisation was given by Special Branch to arrest Informant 1. He was arrested, detained for six days, and interviewed 37 times. Some of those interviews were conducted by his 'handler'. Another of those officers present has told Police Ombudsman investigators he 'felt like a gooseberry' sitting in on the interviews, as he knew Informant 1 was a police 'source' and would say nothing of relevance in front of him. Informant 1 was subsequently released without charge.
No one has ever been charged with the murder.
In the weeks which followed, Informant 1's monthly retainer was increased from £100 a month to £160, despite the fact that he was a main suspect for the murder.
4. The Murder of Sean McParland (14.1- 14.17)
Sean McParland was shot on 17 February 1994 and died later from his injuries.
Police Ombudsman investigators have seen information which indicated that two days before the murder, police received information from an informant that someone was to be killed the next morning. They mounted a response at the relevant time and place during which they saw Informant 1.
Later that day they received information that Informant 1 had been involved in the planned attack but that it was called off when police were seen in the area. Mr McParland was shot the following day.
Police Ombudsman investigators have seen additional information in which Informant 1 names another police informant as having carried out the murder. He also admits to having had an involvement himself.
5,6 The Murders of Gary Convie and Eamon Fox (15.1-15.11)
Gary Convie and Eamon Fox were shot dead on a building site in Belfast on 17 May 1994.
Informant 1 was a suspect for the murder and was arrested.
The gunman who carried out the murders was said to have a 'goatee' beard. Informant 1 when arrested had a 'goatee' beard but was allowed to shave it off while in custody. No identity parade was held. He was released without charge.
7. The Murder of Gerard Brady. (16.1-16.3)
Gerard Brady was shot on 17 June 1994. Police have intelligence which links Informant 1 and another police informant to this murder. Ballistic tests have also linked the gun used to Informant 1 and other police informants.
8. The Murder of John Harbinson. (18.1-18.28)
Mr Harbinson was beaten to death on 18 May 1997.
Special Branch had a significant amount of high-grade intelligence about the four main suspects for this murder, including Informant 1. They did not pass this information on to the police officers investigating the murder.
Special Branch also had information that those who had carried out the murder had fled to a location in Ballyhalbert where they were 'safely ensconced.' Again, they did not pass this information on to their colleagues. Forensic opportunities were lost.
Police Ombudsman investigators have seen information which links Informant 1 to the murders of Thomas Sheppard in March 1996 (17.1-17.5) and Thomas English in October 2000. (19.1- 19.5)
Terrorism in the Republic (24.1- 24.20)
Informant 1 gave police information about a planned bomb attack in Dublin and helped them ensure the plan was aborted. Special Branch officers were instructed not to record the details of this planned attack.
Informant 1 later gave police information about another 'high profile' attack on a republican target and told them he had received the explosives to carry it out. The police made safe the explosives and returned them to him, but did not mount an operation to see what the terrorists had planned or to arrest them.
Within two weeks there was a bomb attack on the Sinn Fein offices in Monaghan. Intelligence held by police implicates police informants, including Informant 1. None of this information was passed to the Garda.
Attack on Bar in Portadown (26.1 - 26.14)
Special Branch received detailed intelligence from a police informant of a planned UVF attack on a bar in Portadown. They passed on limited information to local police. Only good policing in the area allowed those responsible to be apprehended.
Special Branch Block Searches. (23.1-13.14)
Documentation indicates that police were provided with the addresses of people who had UVF weapons, including Informant 1, and the location of an alleged UVF arms dump. Special Branch blocked the searches of some of these locations.
Within weeks of these searches having been blocked, there is information that Informant 1 and his associates were again linked to murder and attempted murder.
Drug Dealing (27.1- 27.19)
The Police Ombudsman has obtained around 70 separate intelligence reports held by police implicating Informant 1 in 17 instances of drug dealing in an area covering North Belfast and Larne. The material also links him to associated 'punishment' attacks. Despite this, his only conviction has been for the possession of drugs.
The numbering in brackets above relates to paragraphs within the Public Statement.
The full Public Statement can be found on our website at www.policeombudsman.org in the Publications > Investigative Reports section.
[click here to go directly to the report]
Haddock on the bottom rung of collusion ladder
By Mark Thompson
The Ombudsman's report into Mark Haddock, ‘Operation Ballast', once again puts the spotlight on state collusion in over 20 murders.
It follows the Irish government Oireachtas Committee Report – the Barron Inquiry into Dublin/Monaghan bombings – the Glenane Report into collusion in Mid-Ulster's murder triangle – and the three reports by John Stevens.
This aside from the almost monthly occurrence of collusion being evidenced by bereaved families.
However, the focus should not just be Mark Haddock. He was the dime a dozen killer at the bottom of the chain.
Evidence about collusion to date consistently points to a highly-sophisticated British government political and military policy of infiltration of loyalism for the purposes of murdering Irish nationals.
The irony is that Haddock killed numerous unionists. It is evident the British authorities permitted these killings.
Independent investigations must be pursued to the highest authority especially within the British Cabinet and MI5 establishment in Whitehall that sanctioned that policy. To concentrate only on Haddock, while important, would be an error and a grave injustice.
Since April 2003 the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has had 25 files relating to members of RUC Special Branch and the British army's Force Research Unit (FRU) including one relating to a civilian – loyalist.
At the time of the limited publication of Stevens' Report in April 2003 the British Government said that: "…it’s important that the criminal justice process takes its course".
It is equally evident that they have worked to prevent and frustrate due process.
This should not surprise us. Much effort has been deployed to keep the lid on collusion including the Inquiries Act 2005 that is specifically about preventing an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.
Since 2003 there have been no prosecutions taken and the PPS is being strategically used as a last line of defence for ‘British national interests' – hiding the truth about Britain's dirty war in Ireland including those responsible for running it.
We need to go right to the heart of British government policy on collusion.
We equally need to end the beyond scrutiny status of the PPS which is part and parcel of the policy of collusion acting against due process.
We also need to ask why is this current British government going to extreme lengths to protect a Tory regime that refined and developed the strategic policy of collusion during the mid 1980s onwards?
The full truth about all the activities in which RUC Special Branch, and secretive military units such as FRU, must be exposed and those ultimately responsible held accountable.
The activities of Mark Haddock are particularly disturbing.
Obvious questions are did the PSNI continue to run him as an agent and was the Chief Constable Hugh Orde made aware of his activities when he took over the reins?
All of these issues must be clarified and underline the importance of comprehensively addressing the full truth about collusion before it further contaminates future policing.
Now is the time for truth and accountability. Transitional justice requires this. Victims demand nothing less.
Mark Thompson is the director of Relatives for Justice.
Decision - International Inquiry is Only Way Forward
The DPP today contacted victims and families of those killed through collusion and informed them that they would not be proceeding with the prosecutions recommended by the Stevens Inquiry into collusion.
Speaking after being contacted himself, Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey, whose attempted murder was one of the cases considered, said: "It has to be remembered that the DPP are simply another level in the policy of collusion and the policy of concealment and cover up.
"It was the DPP who previously did a deal with Brian Nelson to keep evidence of collusion out of the public domain.
"This morning I received confirmation that the DPP would not be pursuing anyone for prosecution in my case or any of the others examined by Stevens.
"The scandal of today's statement is that it reveals that British Agents gave loyalists weapons which were used to kill Catholics.
"The DPP in failing to prosecute those at the very top who sanctioned and carried out this policy are part of a State cover up.
"There can be no other conclusion.
"Ultimately what this decision exposes is the fact that the British State is incapable of facing up to its involvement in the murder of citizens and British State structures cannot deliver truth and justice for those families involved.
"What is required is a full international independent inquiry into the British State policy of collusion. Clearly that is the only mechanism which will satisfy the many families bereaved through this policy."
Collusion : Cover up and protection of killer agents continues
The ABC of collusion
Last week's decision by the Public Prosecution Service in the Six Counties not to prosecute any members of the British Crown forces involved in the murders of several people including the high-profile assasination of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane can only be understood within a wider recognition of collusion as a sanctioned state policy. In the 18 years of campaigning for the truth precipitated by the Finucane murder, the British state has sought to deny collusion by serial redefinition.
Over the last two decades collusion has been presented as republican propaganda, a few bad apples, informal action by individuals acting on their own initiative, the consequence of using indigenous forces like the UDR and the result of rogue agents or more recently rogue units. Collusion has been presented as reactive rather than proactive, a failure at the point of intervention, investigative incompetence and a reluctance to prosecute.
All these are designed to perpetuate the one big lie the British state is determined to sustain, the lie that collusion is a result of failure in the system and not, as republicans have long contended, a mechanism established within and protected by the system. But how else can you account for the fact that after 18 years of investigation and three inquiries by one of Britain's most senior police officers, Stevens has been left without a single prosecution?
In 2003 John Stevens, former British Metropolitan Commissioner and now chief security adviser to the Brown government, confirmed that he had uncovered evidence of collusion. He cited the murder of teenager Adam Lambert, shot dead by the UDA in the mistaken belief he was a Catholic and the murder of Pat Finucane.
"I have uncovered enough evidence to lead me to believe that the murders of Pat Finucane and Adam Lambert could have been prevented. I also believe that the RUC investigation of Pat Finucane's murder should have resulted in the early arrest and detection of his killers. I conclude there was collusion in both murders and the circumstances surrounding them," said Stevens.
Given the weight of evidence already within the public arena, Stevens' conclusions were remarkably tame as was his characterisation of collusion in terms of failure to prevent and failure to investigate. But despite this it is clear that Stevens had a mind to prosecute on the basis of the evidence he presented in his report to the British government.
Before Stevens passed his findings onto the Prosecution Service in 2003 he sought legal advice from two top barristers in England who told him that of the 40 cases examined in the inquiry, 25 were strong enough to bring a prosecution. Acting on that advice, Stevens handed 25 files to the North's PPS.
Last week, four years after receiving the files, the PPS announced its decision. No serving or former member of the crown forces is to face charges arising out of the Stevens' inquiry. In relation to the Finucane killing, said the PPS, there was insufficient evidence to prove that the British Army's Force Research Unite (FRU) had actively encouraged UDA intelligence office and British Agent Brian Nelson to commit murder.
Special Branch officers, who supplied UDA killers with weapons that were subsequently used in the murder of six Catholics, will also escape prosecution. In late 1989 Special Branch agent William Stobie handed over five weapons to his handlers at Knocknagoney RUC barracks in East Belfast. Within weeks the guns were handed back to the UDA.
Three years later one of Stobie's weapons, a Browning pistol, was used in an attack on the Devenish Bar in West Belfast. One man died, Aidan Wallace, and three were injured, including an eight-year-old child who was shot in the face by one of the gunmen. Less than three months later the same weapon was used again. During a UDA attack on Sean Graham's bookmakers on the Ormeau Road five people were killed and more injured.
As one victim, Mark Sykes told the media, it was bad enough to find out that the weapons used to shoot him and kill his brother-in-law were supplied by the RUC:
"Then they tell you that the police officers who supplied these weapons are being allowed to walk away because the PPS can't find out their names."
"Are we expected to believe that senior officers refused to reveal who handed these guns over to the UDA and the PPS just decided to leave it at that?" he said.
The PPS further concluded that Stevens had failed on a number of counts to provide enough evidence to prove that any member of the Crown forces had been guilty of "malpractice in public office".
The victims and the families of victims were informed of the PPS decision not to prosecute by letter. "They came and knocked on people's doors at 7.30am and handed us envelopes and just walked away," said Mark Sykes, who was seriously injured during the bookmaker attack.
"No one knew anything about it, although its obvious they must have been planning this for months. We were later told the PPS had leaked it to certain favourable media outlets even before we had a chance to open the envelopes," said Sykes.
Collusion has been a feature of the Six County state since its creation. British forces and unionist paramilitaries have traditionally shared intelligence, weapons and personnel.
In the 1980's, under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, members of the British cabinet and their military intelligence agencies developed a specific collusion mechanism that established state sponsored murder as a formal strategy at the heart of British policy in Ireland.
The British state, through agencies like the FRU and Special Branch, rearmed, reorganised and redirected loyalist death squads. Supplying unionist paramilitaries with modern weaponry had an immediate and deadly impact on the number of killings in the North of Ireland.
Within six years of the arrival of weaponry, procured in South Africa and smuggled into the Six counties by British agents, loyalist murder gangs had increased their capacity to kill by 300%.
Through a network of agents, like Brian Nelson, the British state identified targets, supplied intelligence and provided back up to the killers. The FRU had the authority to ensure loyalist gunmen on a 'hit' a clear run to and from their target while Special Branch ensured any investigation into the killing did not result in prosecutions.
In other words the British state established an effective murder machine that enabled them to commission the killing of citizens within its own jurisdiction. The British justified collusion to themselves by promoting the notion that they were 'taking the war to the IRA' but in fact once the machinery of murder was up and running no one was safe.
They killed politicians, civil rights activists, election workers, defence lawyers and Catholic and Protestant civilians. They killed to cover their agents' tracks. They killed agents who had outlived their usefulness and loyalists who knew too much. And they sacrificed their own soldiers and members of the RUC to retain their agents' cover.
But by the late 1980's the secret operation of the collusion strategy began to be exposed. In August 1989 the UDA killed Loughlin Maginn and claimed that he was a member of the IRA.
To support their claim the UDA produced classified British Intelligence documents that identified Maginn as an IRA Volunteer. In the months that followed thousands of British Intelligence documents in the hands of loyalists were shown to the media.
British police chief John Stevens was initially dispatched to investigate allegations based on the premise that collusion was nothing more than the leaking of documents. But the arrest of a British army agent, Brian Nelson, at the heart of UDA further exposed the nature of British collusion.
As a consequence the British state was no longer able to completely hide its hand. Covert attempts by the FRU, the hiding of Nelson's paperwork at Palace Barracks and the mysterious fire at Stevens' offices failed and Nelson's prosecution proceeded.
The British feared that the information that might be exposed during a lengthy court case so much that they had to deploy 'public' mechanisms to curtail the trial. The fact the British state was forced to show its hand by involving the highest offices of state, top politicians, senior members of the judiciary and military officers, is an indication of the intrinsic nature of the collusion strategy.
The cover up involved the then British PM John Major, who met the trial judge Basil Kelly and the head of the British judiciary in the north, Chief Judge Brian Hutton. It involved the then Attorney General Patrick Mayhem and British Defence Minister and former NIO Secretary of State Tom King who provided a character reference for Nelson. And it also involved the partial exposure of the FRU and its operation by the trial attendance of Colonel 'J', now Brigadier Gordon Kerr, the then head of the FRU.
Kerr remained a key military and political figure under Tony Blair first as British military attaché to Beijing and more recently as a leader of covert forces in Iraq. Kerr's posting to a "theatre of war" conveniently side stepped the latest Stevens' inquiry by placing the British officer outside the jurisdiction of civilian policing.
It can be no coincidence that Kerr's retirement was announced only shortly after last week's decision by the Public Prosecution Service not to prosecute any member of the British Crown forces involved in the Finucane murder.
As information has increasingly emerged into the public arena the British had presented a roller coaster of notions about collusion. At first collusion was presented as a matter of unofficial 'leaks' between regular and irregular pro British forces. In this scenario there is no guiding hand, no pattern, no strategy, just the collective result of individual acts of collusion. Stevens focused upon indigenous groups like the UDR and unionist paramilitaries.
But the 'leaks' scenario collapsed as soon as Nelson revealed himself as a British agent working for a unit of British Military Intelligence. Then collusion became the consequences of a 'rogue' agent, Nelson, who it was claimed had strayed beyond his sanctioned role with the FRU. But that proved to be equally unsustainable.
Fearing his potential as a whistleblower, the British state felt compelled to rush to Nelson's defence, manipulating the operation of the justice system and providing a British cabinet minister, Tom King and British army officer, Gordon Kerr as character witnesses during the trial. Nelson was described as a ' courageous hero' by Kerr and a 'valuable agent' by King.
As the myth of Nelson as a rogue agent began to collapse, the lie moved onward to present the British army unit to which he was attached as a rogue unit. Now we were asked to believe the FRU acted beyond the sanction of their military and political masters but that lie also proved to be unsustainable.
The range of agencies involved in the Finucane killing and subsequent cover up shows the FRU was far from a solo player. The increasing insight into the operation of the FRU, the unit's close working relationship with Special Branch and MI5 control of both agencies further undermined any notion that the FRU was acting alone.
Having barely avoided total meltdown with the exposure of Brian Nelson, the British state has worked very hard at regaining ground by presenting collusion as a failure within the system. But the evidence already within the public arena just doesn't stack up.
Bring the systematic supply of weaponry to unionist paramilitaries into the frame, and the scenario appears closer to Kitson's strategy of counter gangs and the use of state sponsored paramilitaries in Latin America.
In 1996 relatives of some of those killed as a consequence of collusion presented a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa urging investigation into an arms shipment, organised by British agents during the former Apartheid regime to loyalists in the north of Ireland.
In 1985 Dick Wright, a loyalist from Portadown and British agent travelled from South Africa to the North of Ireland. At the time Wright was working in South Africa as an agent for an armaments company Armscor. In Belfast Wright met a leading member of the UDA, now widely believed to have been a British agent, and offered to supply loyalists with weaponry worth at least a quarter of a million pounds.
A second British agent was duly dispatched to South Africa to secure the deal. In June 1985 Brian Nelson travelled to South Africa. His trip was authorised by the British MOD and by a British minister whose identity is as yet unknown. In South Africa Nelson was met by another British agent with loyalist connections, Charles Simpson.
Charles Simpson, an MI5 agent and former member of Tara, a loyalist paramilitary group headed by the notorious William McGrath, was then working as a member of the equally notorious South African Defence Forces. In Durban Simpson took Nelson to inspect the shipment of weaponry that was later smuggled into the North of Ireland.
Final arrangements for the shipment were completed in December 1987. According to Nelson, he kept MI5 informed throughout, passing on all details including the method to be used to smuggle the weapons into the north.
The shipment is believed to have consisted of 200 AK47 automatic rifles, 90 Browning pistols, 500 fragmentation grenades, 30,000 rounds of ammunition and 12 RPG7 rocket launchers and arrived in the north of Ireland in January 1988.
The weaponry was shared out between three unionist paramilitary groups, the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance. Part of the shipment was lost but the bulk still remains in loyalist hands.
British Military Intelligence has subsequently attempted to justify the fact that they allowed the shipment through on the grounds that seizure might have compromised an agent's cover. But such a defence is nonsense.
It asks us to place the primacy of an agent's cover above the hundreds of lives subsequently lost as a direct consequence of the South African shipment while still maintaining the myth that collusion is about "saving lives".
In the 1980's the British state adopted a strategy and developed a means by which it could commission the murder of citizens within its own jurisdiction. Thirty years later those mechanisms are yet to be dismantled and the policy of state collusion yet to be disavowed.
In the ABC of collusion 'A' is for absolution, the repeated absolution the British state and its agencies have been prepared to hand out to those involved in collusion. B is for the betrayal of families of the victims still denied truth and justice and C is for the continuing cover up of which the PPS played a role last week.
Court Rules Loyalist Collusion Claims 'Not Properly Investigated'
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg today ruled that allegations of British security force collusion in the loyalist murders of eight men in South Armagh in the 1970s had not properly been investigated.
The case was taken to Europe by the families of the eight men following what they considered to be a failure by the British government to properly have investigated detailed allegations of collusion made by a former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1999.
The court ruled unanimously that in all the cases there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights due to the lack of independence of the RUC which handled the initial stages of the investigation into the allegations.
The collusion claim was made by former RUC man John Weir in a television programme.
He stated he had been told by another former reserve constable in the RUC that a farmhouse owned by another officer was used as a base from which to carry out loyalist attacks.
Mr Weir also alleged that a part-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was among those responsible for one of the attacks and that a getaway car was provided by another former RUC reservist.
The case related to the deaths of eight men from four families and the wounding of a ninth:
The court said an investigation into the allegations appeared to have been started by the RUC in 1999 and interviews with seven people central to Mr Weir's allegations - among those who could be traced or were still alive - were conducted in 2001, without obtaining any useful new or incriminating evidence.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) took over from the RUC in November 2001 and the investigation was eventually handed over to the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of the Metropolitan Police.
That team managed to interview Mr Weir, said the court, but he refused to either make a statement or to agree to give evidence in a UK court.
It said the HET had now apparently reached the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to proceed further, although it did not appear any formal decision had yet been issued.
The court awarded all applicants €5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €5,000 in respect of costs and expenses - with the exception of the family of Trevor Brecknell, where the award was €51,000.
The families were today meeting with their solicitors to discuss the implications of the ruling.
Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane solicitors said: "In 1999, the RUC purported to conduct a police investigation into John Weir's allegations.
"The RUC took no steps to interview John Weir and irrespective of the cogent and credible evidence of widespread collusion by members of the UDR and RUC with a loyalist murder gang based in Mid-Ulster, concluded that his allegations were false."
"Today's findings by the European Court of Human Rights that the families' human rights were breached by the UK Government vindicates the families' central contention that there was a total lack of independence, transparency and accountability on the part of the RUC, in investigating the activities of this murder gang."
Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy welcomed today's ruling.
The Newry/Armagh MP said: "There is clear evidence of collusion in murders of John, Brian and Anthony Reavey and Joseph, Barry and Declan O'Dowd, Colm McCartney and Trevor Brecknell and wounding of Michael McGrath in South Armagh in 1975 and '76.
"This was also supported by former RUC officer John Weir in 1999 who pinpointed the base of operations used by the loyalist gang responsible for these murders that was owned by another RUC officer.
"This unanimous ruling today highlights the lack of independence within the RUC investigation into the allegations of collusion but there are many other unanswered questions about the relationship between this loyalist gang and members of the RUC and UDR.
"Sinn Féin will continue to support the families bereaved as a result of the British State sponsored policy of collusion between the British Army, UDR and RUC and loyalist paramilitaries.
"The lid must be lifted on the whole issue of collusion. The families of all those killed down the years, not just in South Armagh but all of the victims of British State collusion deserve the truth about their loved ones."
United Nations Report Criticises British Government
The Troops Out Movement today publish the latest report from the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the British government's continuing failure to act on its obligations under the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Visitors to our website are encouraged to pay particular attention to observation No. 9, where the British government is, yet again, accused by the UNHRC of failing to hold independent and impartial inquiries into controversial murders in the six counties.
Even where inquiries have been established the British government stand accused of manipulating them through the Inquiries Act 2005, which allows a British government minister to control important aspects of the inquiry.
Now that the United Nations have published yet another damning report of the British government's failure to meet its obligations under the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, surely the time has now come to stand down the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), the Police Ombudsman's investigations and the Eames/Bradley consultative group.
Justice demands that the focus now should be on establishing an International, Independent Truth Commission under the auspices of a neutral body such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Then - and only then - will we get to the truth about the British government's war machine in Ireland - which was responsible for the murder of many, many hundreds of its own citizens.
The report: International covenant on civil and political rights
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
Ninety-third session Geneva, 7-25 July 2008
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant
Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
1. The Committee considered the sixth periodic report submitted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CCPR/C/GBR/6) at its 2541st, 2542nd and 2543rd meetings, held on 7 and 8 July 2008. The Committee adopted the following concluding observations at its 2558th and 2559th meetings, held on 18 July 2008.
2. The Committee welcomes the State party’s detailed sixth periodic report and commends the inclusion in the report of a comprehensive account of action taken to follow up on each of the Committee’s concluding observations on the consideration of the previous report. It appreciates the written replies provided in advance by the delegation, as well as the frank and concise answers given by the delegation to the Committee’s written and oral questions.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.
4. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 abolishing the common law offences of blasphemy in England and Wales.
5. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Gender Recognition Act 2004, the Equality Act 2006 and the Sex Discrimination (amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
6. The Committee notes that the Covenant is not directly applicable in the State party. In this regard, it recalls that several Covenant rights are not included among the provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights which has been incorporated into the domestic legal order through the Human Rights Act 1998. The Committee also notes that the State party is the only Member State of the European Union not to be a party to the Optional Protocol. (art.2)
7. The Committee regrets that the State party intends to maintain its reservations. It notes in particular that the general reservation to exempt review of service discipline for members of the armed forces and prisoners is very broad in scope.
8. The Committee notes that, despite recent improvements, the proportions of women and ethnic minorities in the judiciary remain at low levels. (art.3 and 26)
9. The Committee remains concerned that, a considerable time after murders (including of human rights defenders) in Northern Ireland have occurred, several inquiries into these murders have still not been established or concluded, and that those responsible for these deaths have not yet been prosecuted. Even where inquiries have been established, the Committee is concerned that instead of being under the control of an independent judge, several of these inquiries are conducted under the Inquiries Act 2005 which allows the government minister who established an inquiry to control important aspects of that inquiry. (art.6)
10. The Committee is concerned at the slowness of the proceedings designed to establish responsibility for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes and at the circumstances under which he was shot by police at Stockwell underground railway station (art.6)
11. The Committee is concerned with the use of Attenuating Energy Projectiles (AEPs) by police and army forces since 21 June 2005 and emerging medical evidence that they may cause serious injuries. (art.6)
12. The Committee notes with concern that until the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Saadi v. Italy, the State party was defending the position that persons suspected of terrorism could under certain conditions be returned to countries without the appropriate safeguards to prevent treatment prohibited by the Covenant. Furthermore, while the State party has concluded a number of Memoranda of Understanding on Deportation with Assurances, the Committee notes that these do not always in practice ensure that the affected individuals will not be subject to treatment contrary to article 7 of the Covenant, as acknowledged in the recent decisions of the Court of Appeal in DD and AS v. Secretary of State for the Home Department and Omar Othman (aka Abu Qatada) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (2008). (art.7)
13. The Committee notes with concern that the State party has allowed the use of the British Indian Ocean Territory as a transit point on at least two occasions for rendition flights of persons to countries where they risk being subjected to torture or ill-treatment. (arts. 2, 7 and 14)
14. The Committee is disturbed about the State party’s statement that its obligations under the Covenant can only apply to persons who are taken into custody by the armed forces and held in British-run military detention facilities outside the United Kingdom in exceptional circumstances. It also notes with regret that the State party did not provide sufficient information regarding the prosecutions launched, the sentences passed and reparation granted to the victims of torture and ill-treatment in detention abroad. (art.2, 6, 7 and 10)
15. The Committee notes with concern that, in order to combat terrorist activities, the State party is considering the adoption of further legislative measures which may have potentially far‑reaching effects on the rights guaranteed in the Covenant. In particular, while it is disturbed by the extension of the maximum period of detention without charge of terrorist suspects under the Terrorism Act 2006 from 14 days to 28 days, it is even more disturbed by the proposed extension of this maximum period of detention under the Counter-Terrorism Bill from 28 days to 42 days. Recalling the withdrawal of the notification of the State party’s derogation from article 9 of 18 December 2001 on 15 March 2005, the Committee notes that article 9 is therefore now fully applicable again in the State party. (art.9 and 14)
16. The Committee remains concerned that negative public attitudes towards Muslim members of society continue to develop in the State party. (art.18 and 26)
17. The Committee is concerned about the control order regime established under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 which involves the imposition of a wide range of restrictions, including curfews of up to 16 hours, on individuals suspected of being “involved in terrorism”, but who have not been charged with any criminal offence. While control orders have been categorized by the House of Lords as civil orders, they can give rise to criminal liability if breached. The Committee is also concerned that the judicial procedure whereby the imposition of a control order can be challenged is problematic since the court may consider secret material in closed session, which in practice denies the person on whom the control order is served the direct opportunity to effectively challenge the allegations against him or her. (art.9 and 14)
18. The Committee remains concerned that, despite improvements in the security situation in Northern Ireland, some elements of criminal procedure continue to differ between Northern Ireland and the remainder of the State party’s territory. In particular, the Committee is concerned that, under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, persons whose cases are certified by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland are tried in the absence of a jury. It is also concerned that there is no right of appeal against the decision made by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland. The Committee recalls its interpretation of the Covenant as requiring that objective and reasonable grounds be provided by the appropriate prosecution authorities to justify the application of different rules of criminal procedure in particular cases. (art.14)
19. The Committee notes with concern that, under Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000, access to a lawyer can be delayed for up to 48 hours if the police conclude that such access would lead, for instance, to interference with evidence or alerting another suspect. The Committee considers that the State party has failed to justify this power, particularly having regard to the fact that these powers have apparently been used very rarely in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland in recent years. Considering that the right to have access to a lawyer during the period immediately following arrest constitutes a fundamental safeguard against ill-treatment, the Committee considers that such a right should be granted to anyone arrested or detained on a terrorism charge. (art.9 and 14)
20. The Committee is concerned that despite anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) being civil orders, their breach constitutes a criminal offence which is punishable by up to five years in prison. The Committee is especially concerned with the fact that ASBOs can be imposed on children as young as 10 in England and Wales and 8 in Scotland, and with the fact that some of these children can subsequently be detained for up to two years for breaching them. The Committee is also concerned with the manner in which the names and photographs of persons subject to ASBOs (including children) are frequently widely disseminated in the public domain. (art.14(4) and 24)
21. The Committee remains concerned that the State party has continued its practice of detaining large numbers of asylum-seekers, including children. Furthermore, the Committee reiterates that it considers unacceptab any detention of asylum‑seekers in prisons and is concerned that while most asylum-seekers are detained in immigration centres, a small minority of them continue to be held in prisons, allegedly for reasons of security and control. It is concerned that some asylum-seekers do not have early access to legal representation and are thus likely to be unaware of their right to make a bail application which is no longer automatic since the enactment of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The Committee is also concerned by the failure to keep statistics on persons subject to deportation who are removed from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, as well as their temporary detention in police cells. (art.9, 10, 12 and 24)
22. The Committee regrets that, despite its previous recommendation, the State party has not included the British Indian Ocean Territory in its periodic report because it claims that, owing to an absence of population, the Covenant does not apply to this territory. It takes note of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Regina (Bancoult) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 2) (2007) indicating that the Chagos islanders who were unlawfully removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory should be able to exercise their right to return to the outer islands of their territory. (art.12)
23. The Committee remains concerned that while the Governor of the Cayman Islands has not recently exercised his power to deport any person who is “destitute” or “undesirable”, section 89 of the Immigration Law (2007 Revision) has not been amended. (art.17 and 23)
24. The Committee remains concerned that powers under the Official Secrets Act 1989 have been exercised to frustrate former employees of the Crown from bringing into the public domain issues of genuine public interest, and can be exercised to prevent the media from publishing such matters. It notes that disclosures of information are penalised even where they are not harmful to national security. (art.19)
25. The Committee is concerned that the State party's practical application of the law of libel has served to discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as "libel tourism." The advent of the internet and the international distribution of foreign media also creates the danger that a State party's unduly restrictive libel law will affect freedom of expression world-wide on matters of valid public interest. (art.19)
26. The Committee notes with concern that the offence of “encouragement of terrorism” has been defined in section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in broad and vague terms. In particular, a person can commit the offence even when he or she did not intend members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged by his or her statement to commit acts of terrorism, but where his or her statement was understood by some members of the public as encouragement to commit such acts. (art.19)
27. The Committee notes with concern that corporal punishment of children is not prohibited in schools in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat and the Crown Dependencies. (art.7 and 24)
28. The Committee remains concerned at the State party’s maintenance of section 3(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 prohibiting convicted prisoners from exercising their right to vote, especially in the light of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v. United Kingdom (2005). The Committee is of the view that general deprivation of the right to vote for convicted prisoners may not meet the requirements of article 10, paragraph 3, read in conjunction with article 25 of the Covenant. (art.25)
29. While the Committee notes that the State party is currently investigating the practice of stop and search in order to ensure that it is applied fairly and appropriately to all communities, it remains concerned about the use of racial profiling in the exercise of stop and search powers and its adverse impact on race relations. (art.26)
30. The State party should publicize widely the text of its sixth periodic report, the written answers it has provided in response to the list of issues drawn up by the Committee, and the present concluding observations.
31. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, relevant information on the assessment of the situation and the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations in paragraphs 10, 13, 15, 16.
32. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report, due to be submitted by 31 July 2012, information on the remaining recommendations made and on the Covenant as a whole.
The greatest untold story of our times
Dan Glazebrook’s exclusive interview with Robert McClenaghan of An Fhirinne
On 8th July 1981, on the Falls Road in Belfast, Nora McCabe stepped out of her house in her bedroom slippers to go to the shop. Almost immediately, she was shot dead by a plastic bullet, fired from a passing police jeep. At her inquest, one after another, the five police involved repeated the same story that there was a riot taking place and they had acted in self-defence. It looked like the inquest was going their way until suddenly the McCabe family’s lawyer, a young Pat Finucane, introduced a new witness – a Canadian cameraman who happened to be in the area at the time. The film was shown to the court, and revealed that the Falls Road that morning was deserted. It shows the jeep coming down the road, turning into Linden Street where Nora lived and it shows the puff of smoke from the gun that fired the lethal shot. There had been no riot, and Nora had been killed in cold blood.
If the rule of law had prevailed in Belfast at the time, one might expect a prosecution of the killers to have emerged, and for the officers to have been tried for perjury. Instead, the inquest was stopped, never to be reopened; the young solicitor’s assassination was arranged by a British agent; and the man in charge of the police in the landrover, Jimmy Crutchley, was given a medal and a promotion. “This is what happens”, Robert McClenaghan explains, “to the bad apples.”
Cases such as these are the tip of the iceberg. McClenaghan estimates that around 1100 people have been killed by loyalists as a result of collusion with the agencies of the British state. “In our opinion we could put what the British state has been doing for twenty or thirty years on a par with what happened in Chile or what happened in Argentina. It may not have been on the same numerical scale, but the policies were the same.”
Eight years ago, hundreds of the relatives of those murdered joined forces to create An Fhirinne, a united campaign to discover the truth about how and why their loved ones were killed; to discover, as they put it, “not just who pulled the trigger, but who pulled the strings”. An Fhirinne, which is Gaelic for “the truth”, now represents over 250 families. Their struggle has not been easy: “At the start we were dismissed as republican propaganda: the attitude was ‘how dare you try to assert that the British government could be involved in murdering its own citizens?’ But bits and pieces of evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, began to come out and it got to the point where the British couldn’t hold it back anymore.”
The result was the Stevens inquiry. After eleven years of investigations, Sir John Stevens, former head of the Metropolitan Police and “hardly a republican sympathiser”, concluded that collusion had indeed taken place. “From about a million pages of evidence” explains Robert, “he was only allowed to publish twenty. But those twenty were damning”. Stevens concluded that he had amassed enough evidence to mount 25 prosecutions – including against senior RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary – the police), special branch and British military intelligence personnel. He handed this evidence to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions). Years passed, until finally, in 2007 – four years after being handed the files – the DPP announced that there would be no prosecutions. The state institutions would protect their own, no matter how great the evidence of their crimes. As Robert put it; “this was the British state covering up the mass murder of its own citizens”.
State cover up of murder is something of which Robert has personal experience. On December 4th 1971, McGurks Bar was blown up by a UVF bomb, causing the biggest single loss of life of the ‘Troubles’ until the Omagh bombing. His grandfather was amongst the fifteen killed. At the time, he says: “we hadn’t a clue about media, about press statements or anything else, we just knew our grandfather was dead. He was blown up, at 75 years of age, and within hours he was being called a bomber in the media. The British army, the RUC, the unionist politicians were all issuing the statement that this was an IRA bomb which my grandfather and the others had been making when it exploded prematurely. You’ve no idea the impact it had on my grandmother or my father. It’s hard enough to deal with a death, especially a brutal death like murder. But then on top of that to be told lies by the police…”.
Six years later, whilst being interrogated over an unrelated murder, a UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) member named Robert Campbell admitted to being the getaway driver for the bombing that day. Campbell had already been named as the culprit, along with four others, in an anonymous tip-off the previous year. “Now if you were in special branch, and you had a list of five and one of them confesses, you would think at the very least, you should go out and arrest the other four. You don’t have to watch CSI to work this out.” Even then, the official line continued, and although Robert Campbell was sent to prison, none of the others were even arrested.
In the early 1970s, this type of collusion – the institutions of state covering up loyalist killings – was the norm. What we now know is that both the RUC (the police) and the UDR (the army) were also arming the loyalist militias and providing them with intelligence: “This isn’t us whose saying this, this is a British government report that was unearthed in the public records at Kew. One document, declassified under the 30 year rule, shows that between 5 and 15% of the UDR were also members of the death squads of the UDA or the UVF, and that the biggest single source of weapons for the UDA and the UVF was the UDR.”
What Stevens’ inquiries had unearthed, however, was that by the mid-80s collusion had shifted from this type of informal (albeit widespread) collaboration amongst people on the ground to a crucial plank of British state policy. Loyalist death squads had effectively become integrated into the British chain of command.
Finding the fingerprints of Brian Nelson, a leading member of loyalist militia the UDA, on British army documents, Stevens’ team had Nelson arrested. During his time in prison, Nelson admitted he was a British agent, and that far from being placed in the UDA to disrupt its operations, he was in fact there to facilitate them. Nelson, it emerged, had been given access to army intelligence files to improve the UDA’s targeting and assassinations, and had been aided by MI5 in facilitating the import of a huge arms shipment in from apartheid South Africa in 1987. This haul, which included rocket launchers, fragmentation grenades, Browning pistols and over 200 AK47s, more than tripled the loyalists’ killing rate, from 71 over the six years prior to the shipment’s arrival, to 229 during the six years afterwards.
However, the idea that Nelson and his handlers were simply ‘bad apples’, out of the control of the higher military and political authorities, says Robert, is demolished by what happened after Nelson was arrested: “Two weeks away from his trial, there was an extraordinary, unbelievable meeting that took place here in Belfast. At the meeting was the British Prime Minister, John Major; the head of all the six county judges, Brian Hutton; Basil Kelly, who was due to be the trial judge; the Attorney General, Sir Patrick Mayhew who later became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; the head of the DPP at the time, and the head of the RUC. They didn’t want Nelson to get into the dock and blow their cover about how all these murder gangs had been allowed to proceed. So they came up with a plea bargain that was put to Nelson: If he would plead guilty to lesser charges, they’d ensure he didn’t spend too long in prison”.
The multiple murder charges against him were dropped, and instead he was given a ten year sentence for conspiracy in a court case that lasted less than a day. He served less than half this sentence, and was announced dead the day the Stevens Inquiry report was published. Robert finds this hard to believe: “My gut instinct is that he is in South Africa, or a British dependency where he feels safe and secure and he’s just got away with it. He might be dead and I might be wrong, but it was just too coincidental that on the exact same day as Stevens published his report that implicated him, this 4 line statement got released saying that he’s dead.”
Nelson’s handler was a man named Gordon Kerr, of the Forces Research Unit, established under Thatcher essentially to professionalise collusion. His subsequent career demolishes the ‘bad apple’ theory even further: “He actually left the north under the cloud of being a mass murderer and involved in all these killings – but then went on to become British military attaché in China! Stevens put in a request to interview Kerr, and was told he had moved from China and was now on operational duties. He was actually based in Basra, in Iraq. Do you understand the significance? See all the covert killings that were going on in Iraq? There was an incident in Basra where two British operatives were dressed up in Arab dress at a checkpoint, and the local police tried to stop them but they killed them. Then they were arrested and brought into the police station but a British tank came in and smashed down the walls to take them away. That was Kerr’s unit. So this is not only Belfast or the six counties that we’re talking about, this is transporting terror around the world and this is where they perfected their techniques.”
More evidence was unearthed by the 2007 report of the police ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, into the killing of a young Protestant, Raymond MacCord jnr, by the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force): “This case blew the lid off everything. She found that there was a UVF gang headed up by Mark Haddock which was responsible for almost 20 murders and he had his own special branch handlers who were using him and letting him do this. The first person he killed was a woman, a Catholic woman called Sharon McKenna. These people were being paid from the public purse – an allowance every week by their special branch handlers. And after he killed Sharon McKenna, he got an increase in the amount of money his handlers were paying him.”
Shortly after releasing her report, O’Loan was replaced by a new ombudsman, Al Hutchinson – “in my opinion he is seen by the British government as a safe pair of hands, whose not going to rock the boat. He’s not measured up at all.” Last month, Hutchinson published a report exonerating the police involved in the McGurks case. “That was a brutal report. A loyalist bomb and for forty years they blamed the IRA, and they said that was a proper investigation. It’s another whitewash in our opinion; they didn’t even get the names right on the list of people killed.”
Nevertheless, the evidence of collusion continues to mount, and the British government has adopted ever more contorted positions to avoid it coming out. A number of key cases, including Finucane’s and that of another solicitor Rosemary Nelson, were raised by Sinn Fein as part of the political negotiations with the British government at the Weston Park talks in 2001.
The British appointed Canadian former High Court judge Peter Cory to look into six specific cases (including two of alleged Irish state collusion with the IRA). As Robert puts it, “they thought he was going to come over and be a safe pair of hands; another Widgery”. But it was not to be.
In 2003, he reported that there was enough evidence of collusion for separate inquiries to go ahead. “So the British government was in a dilemma. They weren’t expecting Cory to recommend inquiries in these six cases and they were now looking at the possibility of a Pat Finucane Inquiry running for months. Senior British army, police and politicians, including members of Maggie Thatcher’s cabinet could have been subpoenaed. So they were faced with a dilemma and what they did was change the law.”
Until then, the relevant law was the 1921 Public Inquiries Act, which specified that any public inquiry would have an independent chairperson, who could pick their own panel, and all hearings would be held in public. Blair was to change all that: “They rushed through parliament a new inquiries act in 2005 which says that it is a British government minister who will now decide who the chairperson of any future inquiry is, a British government minister who will decide what evidence can be heard in public and what in private, as well as which witnesses. And when the inquiry’s finished hearing and comes to its conclusions, the same British government minister will now decide how much evidence will be given to the public and how much has to be redacted and held back for 30 years. So the government are now offering Pat Fincane’s family this truncated, almost impossible idea of an inquiry.” The family have, unsurprisingly, rejected this, fearing a whitewash.
That collusion was taking place, however, has never been doubted by republican communities, as it was manifestly obvious in their daily lives, as Robert explains: “It was common knowledge at the time. We had 30,000 British troops on our streets. Now, the British army’s just fought a war in Iraq and the highest they ever had there was 8000. So this was probably one of the highest militarised parts of the world. They might not have had 30,000 by the 1980s but don’t forget there were 11,000 RUC and 2 or 3000 UDR and the police reserve, all acting as back up to the British army, so it was a massively militarised society, covered with checkpoints and helicopters. And then they would suddenly disappear, and the area would be deadly silent; and every one of us used to say, ‘someone’s going to get killed tonight’. Because you knew once the checkpoints had disappeared, this was the death squads getting the green light to come in.”
Robert is like a walking encyclopaedia on these issues. The dates, the names, the places, roll off his tongue with ease. In the two and a half hours I spent with him, there is the basis for a book, never mind an article. Neither is what he is telling me hidden knowledge – it is public and openly available. And the enormity of it is staggering: “the biggest modern story of the British state” as he puts it: the state running death squads against its own citizens; and the personnel involved now doing the same thing around the rest of the world. And yet, “this story has never impacted in Britain. It’s amazing to me, we’re so close, we speak the same language, we travel back and forth...but there’s a glass wall there that we haven’t been able to penetrate.”
But then, the media’s servility towards British policy in Ireland is nothing new. Robert believes they too need to be brought to book: “You kill the people first of all, you shoot them dead and then you issue a statement saying he was a gunman or she was a nail-bomber. The BBC then reports the statement and the media just rolls out the story and blackens their names. So that’s the first thing that an Irish person reads the next morning in the Sun or the Daily Mail – it didn’t matter if it was a redtop or a broadsheet, Telegraph, Express, Guardian, Observer – by and large they all towed the line.”
“The idea of collusion is like a spider’s web. At one end you have the assassins who are provided with weapons, provided with information, and are then allowed to come into an area which has been full of military and is then cleared. The military are brought back to barracks, the death squad comes in, sledgehammers the door down, has a map of the house, goes up and does the killing and drives away. The police then arrive, and there is no proper investigation: no ballistics, no forensics - and no adequate prosecutions. In the case of John Stevens, he had twenty five files on some of the most senior police and army which he gives to the DPP on a plate. And they sat on it from 2003-2007. So that implicates then the DPP’s office, which implicates the whole of the legal and judicial system, not to mention the media. So if we are talking about collusion, we try to paint this picture of a spider’s web. Everybody, whether it’s MI5, RUC, special branch, police military intelligence, the civil servants, the media, the courts, the prosecution service, they’ve all at one point or another failed to do what they’re supposed to do.”
The answer? “We want some sort of independent international inquiry that’s independent of the British and Irish governments but will have the authority to subpoena witnesses. Not just republican, but loyalist or British cases as well. The British government try to portray this image to the world that they were peacekeepers trying to keep two warring factions apart, to stop the Catholics killing the Protestants and the Protestants killing the Catholics; instead of saying this was our colony and we were actively involved as combatants and participants on one side, namely the pro-British loyalist side. And what that meant in reality is that they armed the loyalists, they gave them information and then they let them loose on our community over a generational period and killed upwards of 1000 people. So they can’t then be the people that sit in judgement. We don’t want British judges coming over and bringing republicans and loyalists in, and saying 'tut tut that shouldn’t have happened, now do you want to tell your story?' And then the British state gets off scot-free.”
‘just the tip of the iceberg’ says PFC
An explosive new book released today by Derry’s Pat Finucane Centre blows the lid on the extent of systematic collusion during the 1970s between security forces and the UVF - findings that PFC’s Paul O’Connor described yesterday as “just the tip of the iceberg”.
In ‘Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland’, former BBC Ireland Correspondent and author Anne Cadwallader delves not only into police papers uncovered by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) but the testimonies of victim’s families too, building an irrefutable picture for the first time of just how much widespread and routine collusion existed here during the Troubles.
While most of the book’s research centres on conflict in Mid-Ulster and the border regions, the fundamental problems unearthed undoubtedly went deeper and possibly permeated all of Northern Ireland.
Taken together, this exhaustive research confirms what so many have long suspected or just knew across on both sides of the divide, that elements of the police and the British Army were working hand in glove with the UVF to murder innocent people with no paramilitary connections whatsoever.
It’s taken 15 years for the PFC to sift through these endless documents, reports and research alongside the 120 bereaved families who sought answers to the murder of their loved ones.
From July 1972 to the end of 1978 a loyalist gang rampaged through Counties Tyrone and Armagh and across the border into the Republic of Ireland, killing over 100 farmers, shopkeepers, publicans and other civilians. It was widely claimed that the loyalists were aided by members of the RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment - but no-one could ever seem to prove it. That is, until now. Cadwallader’s research, published today by Mercier Press, concludes beyond reasonable doubt that there was indeed systemic collusion in these cases.
The Pat Finucane’s Paul O’Connor described the damning contents of the new book as “just the tip of the iceberg”.
“We are absolutely clear that the damning information contained in these reports would not have emerged had the PSNI been in control of the investigation process as they are now proposing,” he told the ‘Derry Journal’.
“This information emerged at a time when the HET - flawed as it was - enjoyed some level of independence. The present situation where the PSNI have taken over control is untenable,” O’Connor said.
One section of the book details how Robin ‘The Jackal’ Jackson, one of the conflict’s most notorious loyalist killers, enjoyed protection from the rule of law despite allegedly killing 100 or more people. Newspaper reports have called him a ‘psychopath’ with a visceral hatred of Catholics, while others claim that he worked as a hit-man for British military intelligence and for the RUC, but the fact is that Jackson’s relationship with the RUC of the time was so corrupt that he never faced a murder charge. When searched by the RUC, Jackson was found in possession of a notebook containing names - two of whom were Derry men who had never been charged with any offence. Despite overwhelming evidence linking him to scores of murders, ‘The Jackal’ went unpunished.
Cadwallader ultimately finds that the levels of collusion she exposed in this book were more than just a phenomenon.
One HET report found that while members of the Nationalist community alleged widespread involvement and collusion by members of the security forces with loyalist paramilitaries, “these claims were ridiculed, and individual instances previously uncovered had been dismissed by reference to ‘rotten apples’.”
However, Paul O’Connor hit out at such convenient explanations.
“We are clear that what happened in Mid-Ulster at the border region in the 1970s can not be dismissed with reference to some ‘bad apples’ - the system itself was rotten. The criminal justice system, the judiciary, the prosecution service and the security forces all bear responsibility for what happened. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Paul O’Connor added.
‘Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland’ written by Anne Cadwallader is out today, published by Mercier Press.
The book is available in all good bookshops.
Cadwallader: Families who paid ultimate price and were lied to, deserve
One afternoon in 1999, four people sat around a table in the village of Camlough, south Armagh. One of them was me. Another was Ann Bracknell, whose husband, Trevor, an Englishman from Birmingham, had been shot dead in December 1975, two days after she had given birth to her only daughter, Roisin.
Ann's oldest son, Alan, was also in the room. A quiet, dark-haired, besuited and serious young man, he said nothing throughout the meeting. The fourth and final person was Jimmy McCreesh, a veteran republican from south Armagh who had witnessed Trevor's final moments.
Jimmy was there to tell Ann, for the first time, exactly how Trevor had died. There were rumours in 1999 of possible collusion in the attack and I was there to record his words and ask Ann if she believed police officers or UDR soldiers had been involved.
The shooting had taken place in Donnelly's Bar in Silverbridge where Trevor had gone to "wet the baby's head". Jimmy had been standing next to him when the muzzle of the sub-machine gun poked through the bar's front door.
Outside, Patsy Donnelly had already been shot dead as he filled his car with petrol. Michael Donnelly, the bar owner's son, had escaped the bullets and had run into the bar's living quarters to escape the gang. Sadly he was killed when one of the gang tossed a bomb inside the pub.
At that meeting in Camlough in 1999, Jimmy began – in excruciating detail – to explain exactly how Trevor had died. I stopped him in mid-sentence, explaining this was too much for Ann to bear.
"No," she said. "No one has ever explained to me how Trevor died. I want to hear it all."
Mercifully, Jimmy's account was that Trevor had not suffered. He had died the moment the bullets hit him. He was dead by the time the gang threw in the bomb that took his legs off at the knees.
We all left the meeting chastened. I wrote the story up as an incidence of possible collusion and didn't see Alan or Ann Bracknell again for another 10 years.
What I didn't know was that Alan subsequently decided, in his quiet but dogged way, to investigate the claims of collusion. He visited the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry and asked for help, eventually giving up his job as a quantity surveyor to become a full-time volunteer researcher with the centre.
His decision has led, nearly 15 years later, to the publication this week of my book 'Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland'.
Having discovered that, indeed, at least one RUC officer and one UDR soldier had been involved in murdering his father and the other two who died in the Donnelly's Bar attack, Alan went on to investigate 120 other deaths.
I joined the centre nearly four years ago, met up with Alan again (to our joint surprise) and was asked to write up the results of that research. The outcome is in the book.
What turned those collusion "rumours" into fact? Well, first of all, the hours of hard work that Alan and other volunteer researchers put in at the British and Irish national archives. Hours more hard work in local newspaper libraries. Hours of gruelling conversations with bereaved relatives and eye-witnesses to the murders.
The Barron Reports into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, with their appendices listing ballistic links between weapons, helped enormously – as did the sterling work of Justice for the Forgotten in Dublin when the Pat Finucane Centre realised its work dove-tailed across the border with the Northern research.
More and more families came on board. People who had never known of linked deaths began to realise they were all connected in one way or another (through perpetrators or forensic/ballistic evidence).
The final piece in the jigsaw came when the Historical Enquiries Team was set up. A flawed, imperfect, ad hoc and unpredictable truth-recovery mechanism, nevertheless it had access to the 'Holy Grail' – the RUC archives.
One team was set up to investigate collusion in counties Armagh and Tyrone. This team set about their work with dedication, honesty, diligence and integrity. Family after family received devastating reports citing collusion between UVF killers, police and soldiers.
The evidence mounted. One family was told their father's killer, far from being a "cheese processor", was a police reservist. Four orphaned children were told their parents' killer was not a telecommunications engineer but a UDR soldier.
Why does this matter? Because the time lapse of over 35 years does not remove the imperative for justice. Because collusion fuelled the conflict. Because we must learn from the past. Who paid the price? The 120 dead and their families, who were lied to for over 35 years. But not for one instant do we say they were alone.
As Catholic confidence in law and order collapsed, and people looked to the IRA for their protection or became more tolerant of republican violence, then other soldiers and police officers also died unnecessarily.
Who is to blame? The loyalists? The corrupt police officers and UDR soldiers? Or the British and local Northern civil servants and politicians who knew it was going on and failed to halt collusion in its tracks?
Is the only lesson from history that we don't learn from history? An agreed truth recovery process is needed, not only for all the North's bereaved families but for our communities collectively to learn and move forward into a shared future.
Anne Cadwallader is the author of 'Lethal Allies, British Collusion in Ireland', which was published by Mercier this week.
Some of the
Victims of Collusion
Sean Anderson 32 years, Loughbracken Road, Pomeroy, County Tyrone, shot dead leaving his isolated home on 25 October 1991. Unionist/loyalist gunmen ambushed him as he drove his car in the lane-way leading to his home. The shooting happened about 9.30pm as he was on his way to his girlfriend's home. The gunmen used automatic rifles similar to those brought in to the North in December 1987, with the help of British Intelligence. Mr Anderson, who was hit ten times, was a former H-Block prisoner who was released in 1988. He suffered constant harassment from the Royal Ulster Constabulary for a long period before his death.
Paddy Askin 53 years, Monaghan town, County Monaghan, killed in a no-warning car bomb attack at Church Square, Monaghan town, on 17 May 1974. Seven people, including Mr Askin, died or were fatally injured in the blast. The Monaghan blast came an hour or so after three similar car bombs in Dublin, which claimed a further twenty-seven lives. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Jim Bell 49 years, Chemical Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead by the UVF at his place of work, also in east Belfast, on 1 September 1993. Jim Bell was born and lived all his life in the Short Strand area. He married in the early 1970s but he and his wife Margaret had no children. Mrs Bell speaking to Relatives for Justice described her husband as a ‘easy going man, who would have harmed no one and got on with everybody.' She said he loved animals, having at one time or other pigeons, dogs and a pony and trap.
Paul Blake 26 years, Jamaica Street, Ardoyne, north Belfast, shot dead in Berwick Road, Ardoyne, on 27 February 1981, by members of the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters. (UDA/UFF). Mr Blake was walking down Berwick Road when a car pulled along side him and gunmen inside the vehicle opened fire on him.
Two men were convicted in 1983 for their role in the killing. Both said UDA leader Jim Craig gave them a small amount of money for the killing. Craig, who was shot dead in 1987, was believed to have been a long-standing Crown force agent.
Trevor Bracknell 32 years, Cullyhanna, south Armagh, killed in a gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's Public House at Silverbridge, also South Armagh, on 19 December 1975. Patrick Donnelly (24) and Michael Donnelly (14) also died in the attack. Mr Bracknell was married with three children.
Ronald Bunting 32 years, Downfine Gardens, Glen Road, west Belfast, shot dead in his home on 15 October 1980, along with Noel Lyttle. Both men were members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). Mr Bunting was married with three children.
James Burns 33 years, Rodney Drive, west Belfast, shot dead in his home during the early hours of 23 February 1981. He was widower with three children. Mr Burns was a well-known republican who was interned for several years during the early 1970s. The Ulster Volunteer Force claimed it carried out the killing, which took place in the shadow of a British Army observation and listening post on top of nearby flats.
Anne Byrne 35 years, Raheny, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974. Mrs Byrne was married with two children. Twenty-seven people, including Mrs Byrne, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. A short time after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Gerard Cairns 22 years, Bleary, Co. Armagh, shot dead along with his younger brother Rory in their home on the evening on 29 October 1993. The two young people were watching television and looking after their 11-year-old sister, who had been celebrating her 11th birthday, when two gunmen burst into their home and shot the two brothers dead. The UVF later claimed it carried out the killings. At this time the UVF in Co. Armagh was headed by Billy Wright, suspected of being an RUC Special Branch agent.
Rory Cairns 18 years, Bleary, Co. Armagh, shot dead along with his older brother Gerard in their home on the evening on 29 October 1993. The two young people were watching television and looking after their 11-year-old sister, who had been celebrating her 11th birthday, when two gunmen burst into their home and shot the two brothers dead. . The UVF later claimed it carried out the killings. At this time the UVF in Co. Armagh was headed by Billy Wright, suspected of being an RUC Special Branch agent.
(The Cairns were cousins of Sheena Campbell, a Sinn Fein activist, who was shot dead in Belfast in October 1992).
Sheena Campbell 29 years, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, shot dead in the York Hotel, Belfast, on 16 October 1992. Miss Campbell, who had one child, was a law student at Queen's University Belfast. A gunman entered the crowded hotel and shot his victim five times. It was later claimed by the UVF. The weapon used in the killing was a .357 Magnum revolver. The weapon was later recovered after two young men were arrested with the gun not far from the York Hotel some time later. It was revealed at a bail hearing for these men, held in March 1993, the weapon used to kill Miss Campbell was stolen from an RUC vehicle in the town of Newtownards.
Sheena Campbell was a member of Sinn Fein and had stood as a candidate for that party in the Upper Bann area in a Westminster Parliamentary by-election in 1990. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the killing was “part of the ongoing campaign of murder against members of Sinn Fein, which has seen many of our friends killed or wounded.”
Adrian Carroll 24 years, Armagh City, Co. Armagh, shot dead outside his home on 8 November 1983. The young man had been on his way home from work when shot. The Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF, claimed they carried out the killing.
William Carson 32 years, Rosevale Street, Cliftonville Road, north Belfast, shot and fatally injured in his home on the evening of 24 April 1979. He died in hospital several hours later.
Danny Cassidy 40 years, Kilrea, Co. Derry, shot dead by UDA/UFF as he sat in his car in Kilrea on 2 April 1992. Mr Cassidy, who was married with four children, had been sitting in his car talking to a friend when another car drew up along side and masked gunmen opened fire on him. He was hit several times in the head and chest and died instantly. The shooting happened shortly after 3pm not far from the victim's home.
Paddy Clarke Paddy Clarke 53 years, Cavehill Road, north Belfast, shot dead in his home in front of his family by the UDA/UFF on 2 February 1992. Mr Clarke was a leading member of Conradh na Gaeilge and a Falls Road black taxi driver.
Miriam Daly was 51 when she was murdered. Although the UFF claimed her murder, Jim still believes that there was higher involvement in her death. At the same time other leading H-Block campaigners such as John Turnley and Bernadette McAliskey were targeted. "She was very much to the notice of agencies that were poking their noses in here, for sure. "People called her in the middle of the night to come to an RUC station to help out, while relatives would phone her to find out where their loved ones were.
Brendan Davidson 33 years, Friendly Way, Markets area, south Belfast, shot dead in his home on 25 July 1988, by members of the UVF dressed in RUC uniforms, and using an AK47 assault rifle. The murder weapon was part of the huge haul imported into the North of Ireland from South Africa by unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, with the knowledge and the assistance of various British intelligence forces. Mr Davidson was a republican activist who served a prison sentence during the 1970s, and was held on remand for over two years on the word of a supergrass in the 1980s before he was released. In May 1987 Mr Davidson was shot four times in the arm and back in previous loyalist attack.
Anthony Dawson 18 years, Madrid Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead by an off-duty RUC member on 12 December 1983. Anthony was standing at a street corner with friends when a car pulled up along side them and four shots were fired from the vehicle hitting Anthony. The RUC man who carried out the shooting was later arrested, and when his gun was shown to be the one used in the killing he was charged with murder. He claimed at his trial he had been drunk and had a row with his wife and drove off in a bad temper. Driving through the nationalist Short Strand area he said he spotted a social club he knew from patrolling the area and turned his car around, and coming upon the group of youths he opened fire.
Joseph Dempsey 22 years, Hillman Street, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, killed along with his young wife Jeanette and 10 month baby girl Brigeen, in a unionist/loyalist paramilitary petrol bomb attack on their home in the early hours of 27 August 1976. The attack began when several members of the UDA/UFF broke a front downstairs window in the Dempsey home and threw in two petrol bombs.
Colette O'Doherty 21 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin city centre on 17 May 1974. Mrs O'Doherty was married with one child. Twenty-seven people, including Mrs O'Doherty, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. Shortly after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town killing another seven people. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Thomas Joseph Donaghy 38 years, Kilrea, south Derry, shot dead on the morning of 16 August 1991 as he arrived for work at the Portna Eel Fishery on the banks of the River Bann.
Patrick Donnelly 24 years, Silverbridge, south Armagh, killed in a gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's Public House in Silverbridge on 19 December 1975.
Marie Drum 56 years, Andersonstown, west Belfast, vice-president of Sinn Fein, she was shot dead on 28 October 1976 while a patient in the Mater Hospital on the Crumlin Road, Belfast.
Brian Duffy , 15 years, Wolfhill Avenue, Ligoniel, north Belfast, shot dead by UDA/UFF in a taxicab on the Ligoniel Road on 5 December 1993. John Todd, 31 years, a taxi driver was also killed in the attack.
Eileen Duffy 19 years, Meadowbank, Craigavon, Co Armagh, shot dead in a mobile shop in Craigavon on 28 March 1991. Two other people were killed in the attack, Katrina Rennie 16 years, and Brian Frizzell 29 years. Eileen worked in the mobile shop along with Katrina Rennie, who was her assistant. The small shop was situated in the Drumbeg housing estate, a nationalist's area in Craigavon. It was just after 8.30pm when a van parked near the shop and a masked man carrying a handgun alighted and approached the shop.
Bobby Ewing 34 years, Deerpark Road, north Belfast, shot dead in his home on 12 October 1981, by the UDA/UFF. He was married with three children.
Patrick Fay 47 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin city centre on 17 May 1974. Mr Fay was married with one child. Twenty-seven people, including Mr Fay, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. A short time after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Peadar Fagan , 20 years, Lurgan, County Armagh, shot dead on 17 November 1981 as he sat in a friend's car on the outskirts of Lurgan. Another car drew alongside the victim's car and men inside opened fire killing Peadar Fagan and wounding his friend. The UVF claimed the killing.
Patrick Finucane 38 years, Antrim Road, north Belfast, shot dead in his home on 12 February 1989 by the UDA/UFF. He was married with three children.
Brian Frizzell 29 years, Ardhowen, Craigavon, Co Armagh, shot dead near a mobile shop in Craigavon on 28 March 1991. Two other people were killed in the attack, Katrina Rennie 16 years, and Eileen Duffy 19 years.
Eddie Fullerton 56 years, Buncrana, County Donegal, shot dead in his home on 25 May 1991. Mr Fullerton was a local Sinn Fein councillor and his killing was claimed by the UDA/UFF. The killer gang smashed their way into his home using a sledgehammer and shot him dead as he came down the stairs. The killing was well planned, with the gang abandoning a decoy car after the shooting near the border. It believed their true escape route was by boat across Lough Foyle.
Tony Fusco 33 years, Falls Road, west Belfast, shot dead as he walked to work in Smithfield, central Belfast, on 9 February 1989. He was married with two children and his wife was expecting their third child at the time of his death. His killers fired from a passing motorcycle. The UVF claiming responsibility alleged Mr Fusco was an IRA member, which was rejected by his family.
Peter Gallagher 44 years, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim, shot dead by UDA/UFF as he arrived at his work in Belfast on 24 March 1993. Mr Gallagher, a married man with six children, worked in a construction yard for the Housing Executive at a site off the Grosvenor Road in west Belfast. He drove each morning from his home in Toomebridge to his work in Belfast, a distance of over twenty-five miles, arriving in work around 8am. His usually opened the yard every morning to load up dumper trucks, which were stored there overnight for the building site in Distillery Street.
John Francis Green 25 years, originally from Lurgan, County Armagh, found shot dead in a cottage near Castleblaney, County Monaghan, on 10 January 1975. Mr Green was an IRA member who was ‘on the run' having escaped from Long Kesh prison. He had been staying at the cottage when gunmen burst in and shot him dead. Although the UVF claimed to have carried out the killing, evidence of British military intelligence involvement has emerged on numerous occasions over the years.
Gerard Grogan 17 years, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, shot dead in his place of work along with Mrs Frances Donnelly and Mrs McGrattan on 2 October 1975. A fourth victim, Thomas Osborne (18) died from his wounds on the October 23. The notorious UVF gang the Shankill Butchers carried out the killings.
Robert Hamill 25 years, Garvaghy Road, Portadown, County Armagh, beaten until he was unconscious by a loyalist mob in Portadown on 27 April 1997. He died in hospital on 8 May 1997. The beating took place in the early hours of the morning in full view of RUC members, who watched the attack from inside an RUC vehicle parked only yards away.
John Hardy 43 years, Ashton Street, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, shot dead in his home by the UVF on the afternoon of 28 August 1979. Mr Hardy was married with ten children.
Thomas Hughes 34 years, Lower Falls Road, west Belfast, shot in his taxi not far from his home, on 19 July 1991, by the UVF. Mr Hughes was a Falls Road black taxi driver and had only left his home to begin work when he was shot after stopping his vehicle at traffic lights at Divis Street. The shooting took place in full view of a sophisticated British Army observation and listening post on top of Divis Tower. Despite the killers fleeing the area Crown forces concentrated their follow-up operations in the area where the victim was shot.
Edward (Eddie) Kane 29 years, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, one of fifteen people killed in a no-warning bomb attack on a McGurk's Bar on 4 December 1971. Although apparent to many people the attack was the work of unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, the British Army Press office, Unionist politicians and much of the local Northern Ireland media maintained the blast was caused by the premature explosion of an IRA bomb inside the bar. This theory was continually espoused by the same sources for years afterwards. One British army bomb disposal officer even suggesting in his book that ‘terrorists were instructing IRA volunteers' on bomb making inside the bar when the explosion occurred. This despite the evidence of numerous witnesses at an inquest in 1972, that those responsible arrived in a car, placed a box in the hallway and lit a fuse attached to it before driving off. It was not until the late 1970s, following the arrest and conviction of a UVF member for the blast, that the truth of who carried out the attack was accepted.
Edward Keenan 69 years, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, one of fifteen people killed in a no-warning bomb attack on a McGurk's Bar on 4 December 1971. Although apparent to many people the attack was the work of unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, the British Army Press office, Unionist politicians and much of the local Northern Ireland media maintained the blast was caused by the premature explosion of an IRA bomb inside the bar. This theory was continually espoused by the same sources for years afterwards. One British army bomb disposal officer even suggesting in his book that ‘terrorists were instructing IRA volunteers' on bomb making inside the bar when the explosion occurred. This despite the evidence of numerous witnesses at an inquest in 1972, that those responsible arrived in a car, placed a box in the hallway and lit a fuse attached to it before driving off. It was not until the late 1970s, following the arrest and conviction of a UVF member for the blast, that the truth of who carried out the attack was accepted.
Larry Kennedy 35 years, Ardoyne, north Belfast, shot dead standing at the entrance to a social club in Ardoyne by the UDA/UFF on 8 October 1981. Mr Kennedy was an independent Belfast city councillor and had called to the club to buy some cigarettes. A function was going on at the time, and as the victim stood talking to a doorman the gunmen opened fired from outside the club. The doorman was also seriously wounded.
Sadie Larmour 44 years, Rodney Drive, Falls Road, shot and fatally wounded at her home by the UVF on 3 October 1979. She died in hospital a short time later. The gunman walked into her home and shot her in the chest as she sat in the living room with her mother and sister. The gunman did not speak and shot his victim again when she fell on the floor. The gunman also fired a shot at the other two women but missed.
Frederick Leonard 19 years, Madrid Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead along with Patrick Jago while at work on 7 May 1974. Both men were killed by the UDA/UFF as they sat in a workman's hut at Newtownabbey, where they were working on repairing houses. Four others were injured in the attack. It was believed the same UDA/UFF death squad carried out several similar killings in the same area over a period of time.
Jervis Lynch 26 years, Magherlin, Co. Armagh, found dead by his parents at their home on 6 January 1991. He had been shot three times in the head and body. His parents and sister had been at Mass that evening and found Jervis lying on the porch of their home when they returned. The RUC said they were treating the killing as a sectarian murder, and were trying to trace a car stolen from the car park at Glenavon F.C. in Lurgan around 7.20pm. Mr Lynch worked as a machine operator at a factory in Lurgan.
Noel Lyttle 45 years, west Belfast, shot dead in the home of Ronnie Bunting on 15 October 1980. Mr Bunting was shot dead in the same incident. Both men were members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). Mr Lyttle was also a leading member of the National H-Block Committee. A number of gunmen smashed their way into the Bunting home in the earlier hours of the morning using a sledgehammer.
Patrick McAllister 47 years, Rodney Drive, Falls Road, west Belfast, shot dead in his home by the UDA/UFF on 26 August 1986. Mr McAllister, who was married with four children, was watching television when the gunmen burst in. He was a taxi driver and worked driving a black taxi on the Falls Road. Several weeks before his killing the UFF had threaten black taxi drivers operating on the Falls Road.
Richard McCann 32 years, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, shot by the UVF, while at work, on 26 August 1975,. He died in hospital on 8 October 1975. He was married with two children. Mr McCann worked for Lagan Meats and was waiting in the cab of his delivery lorry at a petrol station when a gunman approached and shot him.
James McCaughey 13 years, Dungannon, County Tyrone, killed in a no-warning UVF car bomb attack on the Hillcrest Bar in Dungannon on 17 March 1976. Three others were also killed in the blast, Andrew Small (62), Joseph Kelly (57), and Patrick Barnard (13).
Paul McCrory 23years, Beechfield Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead along with Marius O'Neill, on 8 November 1979. Both men were walking along a street in the Short Strand area when they came upon a man sitting on the bonnet of a car, moments later there was a burst of gunfire. Mr O'Neill was struck four times in the head and body and died instantly, while Mr McCrory, although wounded survived the initial burst of fire, but was shot dead in a side street only yards away as he tried to escape his killer. The UDA/UFF later claimed responsibility for the killing. A relative of Mr O'Neill said later that no one was ever charged with the shooting and the police investigation was ‘minimal' and ‘police did not seem to bother much afterwards.'
Mervyn McDonald 26 years and his wife Rosaleen McDonald 24 years, Longlands Road, north Belfast, shot dead in their home by the UDA/UFF, on 9 July 1976. The couple had two children.
Rosaleen McDonald 24 years, Longlands Road, north Belfast (See above)
John McErlane 29 years, Glengormley, north Belfast, shot dead along with his younger brother Thomas, on 23 May 1975. The Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF, claimed the killings. The two young men worked for Lagan Meats and every Friday left work with several of their Protestant workmates to play cards in an apartment at Mount Vernon on the Shore Road. A number of men burst into the apartment and ordered those inside to lie on the floor, John and Thomas were then each shot in the head. The gunmen threatened those present to say nothing and stole money from the card game before they left the scene.
Thomas McErlane 19 years, Thompson Street, Short Strand, Belfast, shot dead along with his older brother John on 23 May 1975. The Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF, claimed the killings. The two young men worked for Lagan Meats and every Friday left work with several of their Protestant workmates to play cards in an apartment at Mount Vernon on the Shore Road. A number of men burst into the apartment and ordered those inside to lie on the floor, John and Thomas were then each shot in the head. The gunmen threatened those present to say nothing and stole money from the card game before they left the scene.
Michael McHugh 35 years, Corgary, Castlederg, County Tyrone, shot dead by the UDA/UFF on the laneway of his home, on 21 January 1977. Mr McHugh was a former member of Sinn Fein and some time before his death received a letter warning him he had been put on a ‘vermin extermination list.'
Henry McIlhone 32 years, Sheriff Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot and fatally wounded by unionist/loyalist gunmen on 27 June 1970. He died in hospital on 29 June. He was married with five children. The shooting took place in the grounds of St Matthew's Catholic Church in east Belfast during a sustained attack on the building by unionist mobs and gunmen.
Mary (May) McKenna 55 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974. Twenty-seven people, including Miss McKenna, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. Shortly after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town killing another seven people. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Geraldine McKeown 14 years, Mountainview Gardens, Upper Crumlin Road, north Belfast, shot and wounded in her home on 6 December 1976 by members of the UVF. She died in hospital two days later.
Thomas McLoughlin 55 years, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, one of fifteen people killed in a no-warning bomb attack on a McGurk's Bar on 4 December 1971. Although apparent to many people the attack was the work of unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, the British Army Press office, Unionist politicians and much of the local Northern Ireland media maintained the blast was caused by the premature explosion of an IRA bomb inside the bar. This theory was continually espoused by the same sources for years afterwards. One British army bomb disposal officer even suggesting in his book that ‘terrorists were instructing IRA volunteers' on bomb making inside the bar when the explosion occurred. This despite the evidence of numerous witnesses at an inquest in 1972, that those responsible arrived in a car, placed a box in the hallway and lit a fuse attached to it before driving off It was not until the late 1970s, following the arrest and conviction of a UVF member for the blast, that the truth of who carried out the attack was accepted.
Patrick McMahon 23 years, Spamount Street, New Lodge Road, north Belfast, shot dead by members of the UDA/UFF in north Belfast, on 15 October 1993. Patrick McMahon was the second oldest in a family with five children. His mother Emily, speaking to Relatives for Justice, described him as a ‘great son' and a ‘devoted father.' She said her son, who was a painter and decorator, ‘hadn't a bitter bone in his body. He would have stopped and helped anybody, no matter who or what they were.' Patrick was also a fine boxer, a sport he had been involved in since he was a child. He boxed for the Star ABC boxing club, which was based in the New Lodge Road area, and where his father Jimmy also coached. During his time at the boxing she said her son travelled to many areas throughout the North of Ireland to take part in boxing tournaments, which brought him into unionist clubs, however this did not worry him she said as he had ‘no strong political views.'
Paul McNally 26 years, Ardoyne, north Belfast, shot and fatally wounded by the UDA/UFF on 7 June 1976. He died in hospital two days later. Mr McNally and a friend had been in a bookmakers shop on the Crumlin Road and moments after emerging from the building a gunman-opened fire on them from the other side of the road, hitting both men. The other man survived his injuries.
Thomas McNulty 18 years, Madrid Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead as he walked home in the early hours of the 15 November 1981. Two members of the UVF on a motorcycle carried out the killing. Wounded in the initial burst of gunfire, he ran into another street, but the gunmen followed and shot him several times in the head when he collapsed.
Gerard McWilliams 23 years, Andersonstown, west Belfast, accosted, kicked, beaten and stabbed to death by UDA/UFF members in the Donegal Road area on 29 September 1974.
Caoimhin MacBradaigh 30 years, Andersonstown, west Belfast, killed along with Thomas McErlean (20), and John Murray (26), in a UDA/UFF gun and bomb attack on the funerals of three republicans on 6 March 1988. The attack took place at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast during the funerals of Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann, and Sean Savage, who were all shot dead in Gibraltar by members of the British forces.
Fergus Magee 43 years, Kilmaine St, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, one of three men shot dead by the UVF as they came from their place of work at the Hyster forklift factory outside Lurgan on the night of 14 November 1991. The other two men killed were Desmond Rogers 43 years, and John Lavery 27 years. Mr Magee was getting a lift home in Mr Rogers' car when they came upon what appeared to be a Crown Force roadblock. One of the men operating the roadblock used a red torch to stop on coming vehicles, several of which had already stopped before Mr Rogers halted his car. Moments after stopping a masked man wearing army fatigues and carrying an AK47 assault rife walked along the row of parked cars until he reached Mr Rogers' vehicle and fired several bursts into the vehicle killing Mr Rogers instantly and fatally wounding Mr Magee. The driver in the car directly behind Mr Rogers' vehicle, Mr Lavery, tried to reverse his car away from the scene but the gunmen fired on him. He died later in hospital.
Loughlin Maginn 28 years, Rathfriland, County Down, shot dead in his home on 25 August 1989. The UDA/UFF said they carried out the shooting, claiming that Mr Maginn was an IRA member. After his family rejected the allegation the UFF released a video showing Mr Maginn's photograph and details contained on an RUC intelligence document. The video was taken inside a British army barrack. In 1992 two members of the British army's Ulster Defence Regiment were convicted for their roles in the killing of Mr Maginn. For some time before his death Mr Maginn suffered from harassment and intimidation from members of the British Crown forces.
Antonio Magliocco 37 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974. Mr Magliocco, an Italian, was married with three children. Twenty-seven people, including Mr Magliocco, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. Shortly after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town killing another seven people. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Conor Maguire 22 years, Ligoniel, north Belfast, shot dead at his place of work, also at Ligoniel, on 29 April 1992. Mr Maguire was a former republican prisoner and member of the Irish Peoples Liberation Organisation (IPLO). He was constantly harassed by Crown forces, and was threatened by members of the RUC Special Branch shortly before his death that if he did not become an informer he would be shot dead by loyalists. The weapons used in the killing, an assault rifle and automatic pistol, were part of the haul brought to Ireland from South Africa in 1988 with the help of British intelligence agents.
Roseanne Mallon 70 years, Cullenrammer Road, near Dungannon, County Tyrone, shot dead in her sister's home by UVF, on 8 May 1994. The weapons used in the killing were part of the haul brought to Ireland from South Africa in 1988 with the help of British intelligence agents.
Larry Marley 41 years, Ardoyne, north Belfast, shot dead by the UVF in his home, on 3 April 1987. Crown forces regularly harassed Mr Marley, a former republican prisoner, before his death. The funeral of Mr Marley was held up for three days by the RUC, who harassed and beat mourners to ensure no republican emblems were displayed by the cortege.
Ann Marren 20 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974. Twenty-seven people, including Miss Marron, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. Shortly after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town killing another seven people. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
Sam Marshall 31 years, Lurgan, County Armagh, shot dead by the UVF near his home, on 7 March 1990. Mr Marshall was a former republican prisoner, and at the time of his death was out on bail on possession of ammunition charges. Sometime before his death he was told by the RUC his files were in the hands of loyalists. On another occasion RUC members threatened him with death. On the night he was killed he and another man were coming from Lurgan's RUC barrack, where he had to sign in as part of his bail conditions. The shooting took place in view of the RUC barrack.
Ann Massey 21 years, Dublin killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974.
Colm Mulgrew 26 years, Limestone Road, north Belfast, shot dead by UDA/UFF at his home on 5 June 1976. Mr Mulgrew, who was married, was a member of the Sinn Fein. Two UDA members convicted of the killing claimed at their trial they carried out the shooting in retaliation for an IRA bomb attack on a UDA bar on the Shankill Road. Two people died in the blast.
Eugene Mulholland 25 years, Ormeau Road, south Belfast, shot dead by UVF as he walked home along the Ormeau Road, on 19 September 1981. Some of the UVF gang responsible for the Mulholland killing were arrested and charged in the mid 1980s. They were also charged with the killings of Mary McKay, Gerry O'Neill, Joseph Donegan and Patrick Murphy. Frederick Neill, a UDR soldier from east Belfast, was found guilty of driving the car used in the killing of Eugene Mulholland.
Kevin Mulligan 27 years, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot and seriously wounded by UDA/UFF off the Beersbridge Road on July 17 1987. He died on 16 March 1988, only several weeks after he was released from hospital. Kevin was unmarried and lived with his parents in Clandeboye Gardens. He was the fourth child in a family of six children. His mother Annie speaking recently to Relatives For Justice described her son as a very thoughtful and caring young man. ‘He was a great help about the house' she said. ‘He was also the joker of the family and was full of life.' When he wasn't at work he busied himself helping out at a nearby community centre, which catered mainly for pensioners in the area.
Ciaran Murphy 17 years, Ardoyne, north Belfast, adducted, badly beaten, and shot six times by UVF on 13 October 1974. His body was found on a laneway off the Hightown Road on the outskirts of north Belfast. It is believed he was bundled into a car in the Antrim Road area shortly after midnight. His body was found several hours later. A UVF member was convicted for his role in the killing in 1978. At his trial he admitted to driving the car and acting as look out. He said the youth was taken to a number of loyalist areas before he was shot.
Stephen Murphy 19 years, Oldpark Avenue, north Belfast, shot and fatally wounded by the UVF at his home on 14 November 1981. He died in hospital on 24 November 1981. He was shot answering a knock at the front door of his home late in the evening. The youth had been living in England and had only returned home several weeks earlier. A man was later convicted on charges connected to the killing.
Con Nesson 49 years, Cliftonville Road, north Belfast, accosted by UVF gang and beaten about the head with a hatchet on evening of 1 August 1976. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. The UVF gang responsible was the notorious Shankill Butchers.
Rosemary Nelson 40 years, Lurgan, County Armagh, a human rights lawyer, she was killed when a booby-trap bomb exploded under her car as she drove from her home on 15 March 1999. She was married with three children. The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name for number of unionist/loyalist paramilitary groupings, claimed they carried out the killing.
Malcolm Nugent 20 years, Cappagh, County Tyrone, shot dead by the UVF at Cappagh along with Dwayne O'Donnell, John Quinn and Thomas Armstrong, on 3 March 1991.
Dwayne O'Donnell 17 years, Cappagh, County Tyrone, shot dead by the UVF at Cappagh along with Malcolm Nugent, John Quinn and Thomas Armstrong, on 3 March 1991.
Michael O'Dwyer 24 years, Falls Road, west Belfast, shot dead by a RUC member at a Sinn Fein office on the Falls Road, on 4 February 1992. Two other men, Paddy Loughran (61) and Patrick McBride (40), were also killed. Two other people were injured.
Harry O'Neill 60 years, Short Strand area, east Belfast, shot dead by UDA/UFF at his place of work on 10 August 1994. Harry O'Neill was a married man with five grown up children, four girls and one boy. One of his daughters' Liz, speaking recently to Relatives for Justice, described her father as a hard workingman who was also very religious. Most of his working life he spent in the employment of Richardson's Fertilisers, working in the old ‘Bone Yard' site on the Short Strand and later at the docks, where the firm relocated in the late 1960s.
Marius O'Neill 23 years, Mountpottinger Road, Short Strand, east Belfast, shot dead along with Paul McCrory, on 8 November 1979. Both men were walking along a street in the Short Strand area when they came upon a man sitting on the bonnet of a car, moments later there was a burst of gunfire. Mr O'Neill was struck four times in the head and body and died instantly, while Mr McCrory, although wounded survived the initial burst of fire, but was shot dead in a side street only yards away as he tried to escape his killer. The UDA/UFF later claimed responsibility for the killing. A relative of Mr O'Neill said later that no one was ever charged with the shooting and the police investigation was ‘minimal' and ‘police did not seem to bother much afterwards.'
Arthur Penn 33 years, Altcar Street, Short Strand, east Belfast, killed in a no-warning UVF bomb attack on the Strand Bar on 12 April 1975. Four others, Agnes McAvoy (62), Mary McAleavey (57), Elizabeth Carson (66) and Mary Bennett (42) were also killed. A sixth victim, Michael Mulligan (33), died a week later.
Marie Phelan 20 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974.
John Quinn 23 years, Cappagh, County Tyrone, shot dead by the UVF at Cappagh along with Dwayne O'Donnell, Malcolm Nugent and Thomas Armstrong, on 3 March 1991.
John Reavey 24 years, Whitecross, south Armagh, shot dead by the UVF in his home along with his brother Brian (22) on 4 January 1976. Another brother Anthony (17) was fatally injured in the same attack and died on 30 January 1976.
Anthony Reavey 17 years, Whitecross, south Armagh, shot and fatally wounded by the UVF in his home on 4 January 1976. He died on 30 January 1976. Two of his brothers John and Brian were killed in the same incident. (See Above)
Brian Reavey 22 years, Whitecross, south Armagh, shot dead by the UVF along with his brother John (24) in their home on 4 January 1976. Another brother Anthony (17) was fatally injured in the same attack and died on 30 January 1976. (See Above).
Alexander Reid 20 years, Ardoyne, north Belfast, taken from a taxi on the Shankill Road and beaten to death by UDA/UFF gang on 4 January 1980.
Katrina Rennie 16 years, Meadowbank, Craigavon, Co Armagh, shot dead in a mobile shop in Craigavon on 28 March 1991. Two other people were killed in the attack, Eileen Duffy 19 years, and Brian Frizzell 29 years. Katrina worked in the mobile shop as an assistant to Eileen Duffy. The small shop was situated in the Drumbeg housing estate, a nationalist's area in Craigavon. It was just after 8.30pm when a van parked near the shop and a masked man carrying a handgun alighted and approached the shop.
Francis Rice 17 years, Castlewellan, County Down, found stabbed to death near Rathfriland on 18 May 1975. He had left his home the previous evening with his brother but they later parted company. He was last seen alive in Castlewellan near midnight on the same evening. People returning from church services the next morning found his body. The stab wounds were so extensive the RUC first believed he had been shot. The Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF, claimed they carried out killing. Three men were convicted for the killing in 1981.
Dessie Rogers 43 years, Pinebank, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, one of three men shot dead by the UVF as they came from their place of work at the Hyster forklift factory outside Lurgan on the night of 14 November 1991. The other two men killed were Fergus Magee 28 years, and John Lavery 27 years. Mr Rogers was giving Mr Magee a lift home in his car when they came upon what appeared to be a Crown Force roadblock. One of the men operating the roadblock used a red torch to stop oncoming vehicles, several of which had already been stopped before Mr Rogers halted his car. Moments after stopping a masked man wearing army fatigues and carrying an AK47 assault rife walked along the row of parked cars until he reached Mr Rogers' vehicle and fired several bursts into the vehicle killing Mr Rogers and fatally wounding his passenger Mr Magee. The driver in the car directly behind Mr Rogers, Mr Lavery, tried to reverse his car away from the scene but the gunmen fired on him. He died later in hospital.
Liam Ryan 39 years, Ardboe, Co. Tyrone, shot dead by the UVF in the Battery Bar on 30 November 1989. Michael Devlin 33 years, also from Ardboe, was killed in the same incident. Mr Ryan, who was married, was the owner of the Battery Bar situated near Ardboe on a small peninsula jutting out into Lough Neagh, which had only one access road leading to the bar.
Michael Scott 10 years, Oldpark Avenue, north Belfast, killed along with his grandmother Mary Smyth when a bomb exploded outside their home in the early hours of 12 February 1978. The house caught fired and both victims were burned to death. Mrs Smyth's son was also in the house at the time but was unable to reach his mother because of the intensity of the fire. Mrs Smyth's son was arrested by the RUC and forensic tests carried out on his hands and pyjamas. The insinuation being he was making a bomb in his mother's home at 4am on a Sunday morning when the device exploded prematurely. It was some time before the RUC finally admitted the attack was carried out by unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, believed to be the UVF, who placed a bomb against the front door of the house with the intention of killing everyone inside.
Patrick Shanaghan 31 years, Aghyaran, Castlederg, County Tyrone, shot dead on his way to work by UDA/UFF on 12 August 1991. The killing followed 6 years of constant harassment from the Crown Forces, being assaulted and threatened with death on numerous occasions. He stood as a Sinn Fein candidate in the 1989 local elections. He was also told by the RUC that his personal details were in the hands of unionist/loyalist paramilitaries after a photomontage was lost from a British army vehicle. The assault rifle used by the gunman in the killing was part of a huge haul of weaponry brought into Ireland from South Africa in 1988 by unionist/loyalist paramilitaries with the assistance of several British military agents and intelligence operatives.
James (Jim) Sloan 19 years, New Lodge Road, an IRA activist, he was shot dead by UDA/UFF gun on the New Lodge Road on 3 February 1973. Mr Sloan was standing along with another IRA activist, James McCann (18), when a car pulled along side them and opened fire. Mr McCann died several hours later. After the gunmen drove off British soldiers on top of near by flats fired on people going to their aid. Four other people, Anthony Campbell (19), Ambrose Hardy (26), Brendan Maguire (33), and James Loughran, were killed in this firing.
Mary Smyth 70 years, Oldpark Avenue, north Belfast, killed along with her grandson Michael Scott when a bomb exploded outside their home in the early hours of 12 February 1978. The house caught fired and both victims were burned to death. Mrs Smyth's son was also in the house at the time but was unable to reach his mother because of the intensity of the fire. Mrs Smyth's son was arrested by the RUC and forensic tests carried out on his hands and pyjamas. The insinuation being he was making a bomb in his mother's home at 4am on a Sunday morning when the device exploded prematurely. It was some time before the RUC finally admitted the attack was carried out by unionist/loyalist paramilitaries, believed to be the UVF who placed a bomb against the front door of the house with the intention of killing everyone inside.
Liam Paul Thompson 25 years, Dermot Hill, west Belfast, shot dead by the UFF while a passenger in a friends' car at Springfield Park on 27 April 1994. On the night of his death Mr Thompson was with his friend, Paddy Elley, a taxi driver. Around 11.30pm the two men were in Mr Elley's car, Mr Thompson in the passenger seat, when it was driven into Springfield Park, a cul-de-sac off the Springfield Road near the Ballymurphy area in west Belfast.
Brenda Turner 21 years, Dublin, killed in one of three no warning car bomb explosions in Dublin City centre on 17 May 1974. Twenty-seven people, including Miss Phelan, died or were fatally injured in the Dublin blasts. Shortly after the Dublin blasts a car bomb exploded in Monaghan town killing another seven people. In total thirty-three people died or were fatally injured in the blasts that day. Responsibility for the blasts, now the subject of an Irish Government inquiry, pointed to operatives within British military intelligence because of the detailed planning and co-ordination involved, and the type of explosives used. Although unionist/loyalist personnel were involved in placing of the bombs the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) did not admit its role in the bombings until the mid-1990s.
44 years, Carnlough, County Antrim, an Irish Independence Party councillor,
he was shot dead by the UDA/UFF as he arrived at a public meeting
at Carnlough on 4 June 1980. Mr Turnly was also a prominent member
of the National H-Block Committee, a support group for protesting