The Finucane murder continues to provoke dismay, anger and disbelief, 13 years after it was committed. This time the occasion was a two-part television program in the BBC’s documentary flagship series, “Panorama”. It repeats the allegations that are now part of the Finucane canon — that his loyalist murderers had the help of some members of the forces of law and order to carry out their brutal deed. But “Panorama” went a stage further and found one of the murder gang who was willing to say so on camera, though it appears that he did not realize he was being recorded. Most important, the program found two senior investigators who worked with Sir John Stevens in his earlier investigations into the case and who accused a unit of the British army, responsible for gathering intelligence, of “collusion by omission.” They failed to pass reports to the police sufficiently detailed enough for the police to intervene and prevent some attacks from occurring. These are not wild allegations coming from IRA or Sinn Fein apologists but from two English police officers.
They confirm what most nationalists, if not most people, in Northern Ireland have long believed. That elements of the security forces were prepared to connive with the forces of sectarianism, or at least ignore their activities, when it suited them. They will certainly increase the volume of calls coming from nationalist quarters for a full inquiry into the murder that will lay bare all of the facts.
Just a few weeks ago, the British and Irish governments announced the appointment of former Canadian Justice Peter Corey, whose remit is to look at the Finucane case and five other controversial murders with a view to establishing whether a public inquiry is warranted. But this will take at least two years. Those who are alleging collusion are understandably angry about further delays, in the belief that the older the case gets, the more difficult it will be to establish the truth of what actually happened.
Now it has emerged that another delay has occurred. The third Stevens report into the case was expected within the next two or three weeks. It was announced Tuesday that it will not be forthcoming until the fall. Stevens said it was because of his concern to leave absolutely no stone unturned. One wonders, after 13 years, three investigations and innumerable media investigative reports just how many more stones there are to turn over.