Category: Archive

Northern Notebook Report: investigators ID Finucane killers

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

BELFAST — The British police team investigating the murder of lawyer Patrick Finucane nearly 11 years ago believe they have identified the six loyalists responsible. The team also has reportedly linked the RUC to the shooting.

According to the London-published Independent newspaper, evidence has been sent to the North’s director of public prosecutions naming the three gunmen who carried out the attack and their three-man back-up team.

It also claims there is forensic evidence to support claims the RUC failed to prevent the killing despite being warned it was about to take place. It says the evidence includes DNA samples from one of the murder weapons, a balaclava, tape recordings, witness accounts and other forensic material.

Pat Finucane’s family is not cooperating with the police investigation, instead demanding a full public inquiry. Martin Finucane, the dead man’s brother, said they wanted to know who "pulled the strings" as well as who pulled the trigger.

The Finucane family claims that not only did the RUC fail to prevent the murder, but that members of the force and the British Army instigated the attack because of Pat Finucane’s success in challenging their methods of operation through the courts.

— Anne Cadwallader

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Gárdaí find CIRA bomb cache

DUBLIN — Three suspects are being held after a Limerick man was stopped in a van in County Tipperary carrying home-made drogue bombs, projectile grenades and other bomb-making equipment.

The haul is being linked to the Continuity IRA, the only dissident republican group opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process that has not called a cease-fire. All three suspects are being held under Offenses Against the State Act, which allows them to be detained for 72 hours without charge.

Security forces on both sides of the border have indicated that extreme republican groups were planning violence aimed at destabilizing the peace process and the new executive administration in Belfast.

Speaking about the bombs seizure, Gárdá Commissioner Pat Byrne said Tuesday that major republican weapons dumps were concealed in the Republic.

"They have to be only lucky once. Pre-Omagh, we prevented a number of car bombs going north and going across the water to Britain. Omagh happened and everybody said it shouldn’t have happened. Of course it shouldn’t have happened, but we can’t guarantee 100 percent security," Byrne told RTE.

The van contained two drogue bombs — armor-piercing explosives dropped onto targets from above — packed in four-inch diameter plastic pipes. Police also found components for 12 similar bombs and components for 24 improvised projectile grenades (IPGs), which are normally fired from a shoulder-held weapon.

The various weapons contained about 1.5 pounds of Semtex, an explosive which was used by the Provisional IRA. A home-made detonator cord was also discovered.

— Andrew Bushe

Reburial of Tom Williams

BELFAST — Thousands thronged Milltown Cemetery in West Belfast on Sunday to commemorate the reburial of Tom Williams, who became the last republican, 57 years ago, to be hanged in a Northern Ireland jail.

More than 20,000 people gathered at the republican plot, where it had been hoped Williams would be reinterred, but, in accordance with his family’s wishes, he was buried about 100 yards away alongside his mother and grandmother.

His funeral last Wednesday also brought the Falls Road to a standstill as thousands stood and watched the cortege pass by, ending a 57-year campaign to have his remains exhumed from an unmarked grave within the grounds of Crumlin Road Jail.

The packed church of mourners had been asked also to pray for the soul and family of Patrick Murphy, the Catholic RUC constable who had been killed during a shootout with Williams and his men in 1942.

— Anne Cadwallader

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