Group In U.S. to Highlight Collusion

By Christine Hickey
Irish Abroad

MEMBERS of the Irish organization Firinne are in the U.S. spreading
the word about collusion in Northern Ireland. The group is made up of
Irish families whose family members have been killed, they believe,
by direct action of the British government sharing information with
Loyalist death squads.

Members of Firinne (Gaelic for truth) feel that collusion is a
British state policy in Northern Ireland that has been carried on for
over 30 years. The group wants to highlight the stories of Catholics
who have been murdered in the North, without any subsequent
investigations into the circumstances or arrests.

John Davey was elected as a representative for Sinn Fein in the
Magherafelt District Council in 1985. On February 14, 1989, Davey was
driving home from a council meeting when he was shot to death,
Davey's daughter, Pauline Davey-Kennedy told the Irish Voice during
an interview on Monday.

Davey's death came two short days after the murder of Pat Finucane,
whose case became the best known of the campaign against collusion.
Prior to his murder, Davey had been harassed by the RUC on a daily
basis, his family claims. The Daveys also claim that a security file
on John Davey made its way into the hands of Loyalists.

The Davey family was never informed of an investigation into John's
murder. "We were led to believe that they never actually did an
investigation because we were never told that one had opened or
ended," Davey-Kennedy expressed.

"We have suffered, and we know there was collusion. The British
government will try to minimize it and try to make people believe
that it didn't happen, but it's not over. It's never over," she said.

As a Sinn Fein representative, Davey campaigned for many community
and equality issues, including ending discrimination in the
workplace. "He was a strong and vigilant man who was highly respected
by the community, and he became a threat to the British
establishment," Davey-Kennedy remembers.

Following his death, opponents used his title as representative to
legitimize the murder of a Sinn Fein activist. Some alleged victims
of collusion, however, have never been involved in politics.

Kelly Hamill was only three years old when her father, Pat Hamill,
was shot four times in front of her, her mother, and her sister on
September 9, 1987.

"He was a Northern Ireland heavyweight champion. That was the only
thing he was interested in outside the family; he was a real family
man," Kelly Hamill recalls. "Sometimes you felt that being Catholic
was enough (for them to kill you). You were automatically a target,
and you couldn't feel safe."

The Hamills lived just off of Springfield Road in Belfast. "It was a
real flashpoint area, there was such a strong military presence every
day. But on the day of his murder, not one RUC member was to be
seen," Kelly recalls. "It took three minutes for an ambulance to
arrive, but 55 minutes for the RUC to get there."

Not only was there an absence of police presence oh the day of both
John Davey's and Pat Hamill's murders, but the families were never
given any further information about their deaths or any ensuing

The Hamill family was again in the spotlight at the end of 1995, when
Kelly's little sister Catherine Hamill met President Bill Clinton
during his first trip to the North. Catherine poignantly spoke about
her father at an event Clinton attended, and her words brought tears
to his eyes. Catherine and her family later traveled to the U.S. at
the invitation of the Clintons.

Firinne represents over 200 families just like the Daveys and the
Hamills. The organization is on a campaign to expose collusion in the

So far, they have been to Dublin, London, Philadelphia, New York and
Washington D.C. to bring their cause to the attention of government
officials. "We want the British to stand up and accept
responsibility, to say, `This is what happened and this is why it
happened,'" said Davey-Kennedy.

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