Category: Archive

Rallying for Pat

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The father of three was gunned down by loyalists on February 12, 1989, as he sat at the dinner table with his wife and children.
His killing was one of the most controversial of the Troubles, this given the role the British security services played in its planning and execution.
To mark the anniversary a three day conference will take place in Trinity College Dublin beginning Friday. A number of lawyers and other observers are traveling from the U.S. to attend. The American participants will include three law students from the City University of New York.
The Finucane murder has been never less than hugely controversial, and never fully explained.
Three weeks before the murder, British Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg told politicians in the House of Commons that some solicitors were “unduly sympathetic to the IRA.”
Less than three weeks later Finucane, who had represented IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, was shot 14 times while sitting with his family.
Over the next two decades it would emerge that at least one of the loyalists who carried out the killing, Ken Barrett, was a police agent. Barrett later claimed that RUC officers told him to target Finucane, and that they falsely claimed he was a senior IRA member.
It was also revealed that William Stobie, the loyalist who provided the guns to Barrett for the murder, was a police informant, and that he warned his handlers on the evening of the murder that loyalist gunmen were on the way to their target.
Two other loyalists who planned the killing, Thomas Lyttle and Brian Nelson, were also working for the RUC and British army.
Nelson was given photos of Finucane and details of his address by his handlers, and was involved in staking out his house prior to the murder. Despite this, no police officer or soldier has ever been charged in connection with the killing.
The Finucane family’s campaign for a public inquiry into the murder has also met with resistance from successive British governments. The present British government has said there can be one, but only under the terms of the 2005 Inquiries Act, which would limit the information made available and block scrutiny of state actions.
The Finucanes will use this week to repeat their calls for an independent international inquiry into the murder.
The demand has already won the backing of President Obama, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Irish government, Amnesty International, the Ancient Order of Hibernans, Irish American Unity Conference and Sinn F

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