Sunday Business Post

Government splits with Britain over terror collusion report

14/12/03 00:00

By Sean Mac Carthaigh, Political Correspondent

The government will publish the Cory Report on collusion between paramilitaries and security forces on Thursday, abandoning a plan to release it simultaneously with Britain.

The move will be seen as a stiffening of resolve by the Irish in the run-up to the next round of peace process negotiations.

Canadian judge Peter Cory gave his report into possible collusion by the authorities in eight killings to the two governments in October. But in the intervening weeks, British prime minister Tony Blair has dragged his heels on releasing the document.

While some British government sources have cited "security reasons" for the delay, many in the North believe Blair is simply embarrassed by the contents.

The judge is believed to have concluded that British agents or security personnel played a role in the murders of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, as well as Portadown man Robert Hamill and LVF leader Billy Wright. It is likely he has called for a public inquiry into these deaths.

In his report to the Irish government, Cory dealt with the deaths of RUC officers Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen, and those of Lord Justice and Lady Gibson.

All four were killed by the IRA just over the border in the North,but Cory is believed to have called for an investigation into whether a garda may have tipped off the IRA about the RUC men's movements after a trip to Dundalk.

This would mean that the British government faces far harsher criticism from Cory than the Irish.

In October, both governments agreed to release the two reports simultaneously, vowing they would be made public by the end of the year.

But while Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is anxious to keep this promise, Blair plans to delay p ubl i c at ion on c e more. Sources said this weekend that the Irish side has "waited enough".

If the British, under pressure by the Irish decision, decide to release their report this week, its timing could not be worse, after last week's Barron Report.

Finucane, a prominent Belfast solicitor, was murdered at his home in 1989 by masked men using a weapon "stolen" from the British Army. It came weeks after British minister Douglas Hogg claimed some lawyers in the North were "unduly sympathetic" to the IRA's cause.

In 1997, Hamill was kicked to death by loyalists in the centre of Portadown, within metres of an RUC jeep.

When no one was charged, his family's solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, announced her intention to sue the RUC, and vowedtoobtain the video tapes from cameras overlooking the scene. She continued to criticise the British authorities and received numerous death threats. She was killed by a car bomb in 1999.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?