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Blair is complicit in collusion if he fails to confront securocrats - Ó Caoláin

8 March, 2006


Speaking to the all-party motion supporting the demand for a fully independent public inquiry in to the murder of Pat Finucane in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin TD, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin described the British Government's Inquiries legislation as "the main obstacle to an inquiry" in to the murder of the Belfast solicitor. The Cavan/Monaghan deputy called on the Irish Government to internationalise the campaign and described this evening's all-party motion as a "significant" and "positive development."

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "All-party motions of any kind are a rarity in the Oireachtas and today's motion is highly significant. It shows the strength of support for the family of murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane in their demand for a full independent public inquiry. As such this is a very welcome motion and a most positive development.

"By refusing to hold the inquiry as recommended by Judge Peter Cory the British government is in flagrant breach of its own commitments given at the Weston Park talks. It stands indicted before the international community.

"The main obstacle to an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane is the British government's insistence that the inquiry must be held under the odious Inquiries Act which would give a British minister the power of veto over the evidence given, the duration of the inquiry and the final report.

"Pressure must be brought to bear on the British government to repeal that draconian Act. The Irish Government needs to make very plain to the Irish people, to people in Britain and to the international community why an inquiry under this legislation would be entirely unacceptable.

"The Taoiseach should now use the All-Party Dáil motion before us as part of an international effort to bring attention to this anti-human rights British legislation and to press the case for an inquiry. The Finucane case and the issue of collusion in general should be raised in a systematic manner by the Irish government at EU and UN level.

"As a follow-on to this motion the Taoiseach should call a special summit meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair devoted exclusively to the single issue of collusion between British state forces and loyalist gangs, collusion that led directly to many deaths throughout this island.

"The word collusion is inadequate to describe what went on. Loyalist paramilitary groups, in their various guises, were used as counter-insurgency gangs by the British state. Key British strategist Brigadier Frank Kitson admitted this quite openly.

"At all levels the hand of the British state was evident. In some cases, as in that of the UDA, it was actually in on the establishment of the paramilitary groups. In other cases it controlled key players and operations, either directly or indirectly. In all cases it heavily infiltrated these groups with its agents and protected them at all costs, even if this meant allowing murders to be carried out. And of course British intelligence pointed killers in the direction of their targets, in the case of Patrick Finucane through their agent Brian Nelson.

"So long as the British Prime Minister fails to confront these forces in his own system he is complicit with them." ENDS

FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT FOLLOWS -- CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Statements on All-Party Dáil Motion on Patrick Finucane Inquiry

Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin Dáil leader.

I have to tell members that before these statements even commenced this evening the Northern Ireland Office had issued a statement dismissing the content of the all-party motion. I was handed it before I came in. They did not even have the courtesy to wait to hear what was said in the House. That should only spur us on.

All-party motions of any kind are a rarity in the Oireachtas and today's motion is highly significant. It shows the strength of support for the family of murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane in their demand for a full independent public inquiry. As such this is a very welcome motion and a most positive development.

By refusing to hold the inquiry as recommended by Judge Peter Cory the British government is in flagrant breach of its own commitments given at the Weston Park talks. It stands indicted before the international community.

The main obstacle to an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane is the British government's insistence that the inquiry must be held under the odious Inquiries Act which would give a British minister the power of veto over the evidence given, the duration of the inquiry and the final report.

Pressure must be brought to bear on the British government to repeal that draconian Act. The Irish Government needs to make very plain to the Irish people, to people in Britain and to the international community why an inquiry under this legislation would be entirely unacceptable.

The Inquiries Act gives sweeping powers to British Ministers. It would be like, for example, the Minister for Justice in this State having the power to decide what evidence could and could not be heard at the current tribunals of inquiry at Dublin Castle, stopping the tribunals when he wanted to and then editing their final reports as he saw fit.

This is exactly what the British government wants to do in the much more serious issue of collusion. This is not about beef or political donations or planning corruption. This is about the lives of hundreds of people who have been killed because of collusion between British state forces and loyalist paramilitaries. It is about their bereaved families and loved ones and their demand for justice and truth.

The Taoiseach should now use the All-Party Dáil motion before us as part of an international effort to bring attention to this anti-human rights British legislation and to press the case for an inquiry. The Finucane case and the issue of collusion in general should be raised in a systematic manner by the Irish government at EU and UN level.

As a follow-on to this motion the Taoiseach should call a special summit meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair devoted exclusively to the single issue of collusion between British state forces and loyalist gangs, collusion that led directly to many deaths throughout this island.

Over 1300 people were killed in Ireland by British state forces and their loyalist paramilitary surrogates since 1969. Nearly 50 of those deaths were in the 26 Counties -- 33 of them in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974.

The word collusion is inadequate to describe what went on. Loyalist paramilitary groups, in their various guises, were used as counter-insurgency gangs by the British state. Key British strategist Brigadier Frank Kitson admitted this quite openly. He applied to the conflict in Ireland methods used in other British colonies. The methods refined here have in turn been used in other conflicts.

At all levels the hand of the British state was evident. In some cases, as in that of the UDA, it was actually in on the establishment of the paramilitary groups. In other cases it controlled key players and operations, either directly or indirectly. In all cases it heavily infiltrated these groups with its agents and protected them at all costs, even if this meant allowing murders to be carried out. And of course British intelligence pointed killers in the direction of their targets, in the case of Patrick Finucane through their agent Brian Nelson.

They also imported tons of weapons into Ireland -- most of which remain unaccounted for and none of which have been put beyond use under the auspices of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

At the height of the use of collusion as a weapon of terror against the entire nationalist population, it was dismissed by many as republican propaganda. Time has lifted the mists of censorship and misinformation. But the full truth has yet to be told. We have seen in the cases of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and many others how powerful forces within the British state will move heaven and earth to prevent the facts being revealed. They have already treated with contempt the call from this Dáil for an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

So long as the British Prime Minister fails to confront these forces in his own system he is complicit with them.

Tá guth na Dála seo le cloisteáil go soiléir sa rún seo. Cuirim comhbhrón ó chroi le clann Finucane atá anseo linn inniú agus ar son Teachtai Shinn Féin glacaim go hiomlán leis an rún.

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