BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | 'Cover-up' over Cory reports

'Cover-up' over Cory reports

The British Government is covering up reports on a number of controversial murders in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams has said.

Mr Adams was speaking on Tuesday following a meeting with Secretary of State Paul Murphy to discuss retired Canadian judge Peter Cory's inquiries into the killings.

Judge Cory examined allegations of collusion surrounding some of the most controversial killings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

These included the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane at his north Belfast home, the killing of Catholic man Robert Hamill in Portadown in 1997, the murder of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison in 1997 and the murder of Rosemary Nelson in Lurgan 1999.

He told the families of solicitors Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and of Robert Hamill and Billy Wright on Monday that he has recommended public inquiries into their murders.

Judge Cory compiled reports into eight killings on both sides of the Irish border and handed six reports over to the Irish and British governments last October.

The British Government says it is still considering the legal and security implications of publishing the judge's findings.

However, some of the families have criticised the decision not to publish the reports, because of what the government called legal and human rights matters.


Mr Adams challenged Prime Minister Tony Blair to keep his word about endorsing Judge Cory's recommendations.

He said the refusal to publish the findings proved that Judge Cory had recommended public inquiries into Mr Finucane's killing and other cases.

Mr Finucane's family is taking legal action against the British Government for failing to publish the report on his killing.

His son, Michael Finucane, said Judge Cory had phoned him as he decided that contacting the families was the humane thing to do.

"He did not think that it was not appropriate that the families be made to wait any longer for at least this fundamental piece of information," he said.

On Tuesday, solicitors for the Finucane family are lodging papers at the High Court in Belfast to seek a judicial review.

Leave has to be granted by a judge before the application can go ahead.

However, solicitor Ritchie McRitchie said they would request that the leave hearing should be skipped, because of the delay in publishing Judge Cory's report.


Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson welcomed Judge Cory's recommendation to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Billy Wright.

"What we don't want is the kind of inquiry that we've seen connected with Bloody Sunday, which has been drawn out over two years and cost a huge amount of taxpayers' money," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

"I think any inquiry should take place in a relatively short timespan, and it should be focused on the issues relating to the circumstances in which the murder took place."

The Irish Government has already published its report into the murders of RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan and the killing of Lord Maurice Gibson and his wife Lady Cecily in 1987.

Last month, the Irish Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell announced a public inquiry into the IRA murders of the two senior RUC officers in 1989.

The inquiry came after Judge Cory's report which examined allegations of collusion between rogue police officers and the IRA.

Five human rights organisations - Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Human Rights Watch and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights - have also called for the reports to be published.

Judge Cory was appointed by London and Dublin following the Weston Park political negotiations in 2001.

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