Irish American Information Service


08/13/04 08:55 EST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair must address the issue of
collusion between members of the British security forces and
loyalist gunmen in Northern Ireland during next month's
peace process talks, he was warned today.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty said it was vital the
issue was dealt with in next month`s negotiations at Leeds
Castle in Maidstone, Kent.

With the British government facing demands for an inquiry
into the controversial murder in 1989 of Belfast lawyer Pat
Finucane, the West Tyrone MP said while republicans had, at
various stages of the peace process, overcome obstacles, Mr
Blair`s officials had frustrated progress.

"The British Government has, on three separate occasions,
unilaterally suspended the institutions set up under the
Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"It has also failed to deliver on its commitments on
policing, the administration of justice, demilitarisation,
equality and human rights. The British Government`s failure
to deliver on the above issues is directly related to its
determination to suppress the truth about its policy of
collusion. The British Government fully understands that
the truth about collusion will expose the extent of its
dirty war in Ireland."

"The resulting domestic and international outcry would focus
an unwanted spotlight on the murky state apparatus which
implemented this policy and which still remains intact,"
Doherty said.

In April the British government gave the go-ahead for three
public inquiries into controversial killings in Northern
Ireland - the fatal attack on Portadown Catholic Robert
Hamill by a Protestant mob in Portadown in 1997, the gunning
down of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright by the
INLA in the Maze Prison in 1997, and the murder of solicitor
Rosemary Nelson in a loyalist car bomb outside her home in
Lurgan in 1999.

However Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy held back on
an inquiry into alleged police and Army involvement in the
murder of Mr Finucane by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in
front of his family at his north Belfast home.

In all four cases, retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory
recommended inquiries after being asked by the British and
Irish Governments to weigh up the case for and against new

Many observers believe Mr Finucane`s murder is one in a
series of killings which involved loyalist paramilitaries,
members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Army intelligence.

Mr Doherty said today if collusion was addressed it would
greatly undermine the ability of the Northern Ireland Office
to control and manipulate policing, the courts and other
agencies in the future.

He continued: "Unless the British Government comes clean on
its policy of collusion and opens up its institutions to
democratic scrutiny and accountability, it will continue to
be in default of its commitments under the Good Friday
Agreement. The British Government holds the key to
resolving many of the outstanding issues in the Peace
Process. Does it possess the will? We will find out in

Next month`s talks will see the British and Irish
Governments try to sew together a deal which can deliver
lasting devolution and power sharing in Northern Ireland.

Mr Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have warned if
agreement cannot be reached in Maidstone, they will have to
reconsider their policy towards Northern Ireland.

If a deal is to be struck, it will require bridging the gap
between Sinn Fein and Northern Ireland`s largest party, the
Reverend Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists.

The DUP insists it will only contemplate sharing power with
Sinn Fein if the IRA empties its arms dumps and stands down.

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