* State employees facilitated murder of Pat Finucane-report
* Security Service, army, police all severely criticised
* British PM says findings makes extremely difficult reading
By Ian Graham and Mohammed Abbas
BELFAST/LONDON, Dec 12 British Prime Minister
David Cameron said state collusion in the 1989 murder of a
Northern Ireland lawyer had been "shocking" after a report on
one of the province's most controversial killings condemned
security services and government alike.
Pro-British paramilitaries shot Pat Finucane, who had acted
for members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) guerrilla group
at the height of Northern Ireland's "Troubles", 14 times in
front of his wife and three children at his Belfast home.
An independent report issued on Wednesday severely
criticised members of the British intelligence services and
army and the Northern Irish police for colluding in the killing
and covering it up, although the author, top lawyer Desmond de
Silva, found no evidence of an institutional conspiracy.
Protestant-dominated security forces were dogged by Catholic
allegations of collusion with pro-British paramilitaries during
the IRA's 30-year armed struggle to end British rule over the
province and unite with largely Catholic Ireland. The
accusations have already been borne out in previous reports.
"This report makes extremely difficult reading," Cameron,
who commissioned the report and had previously accepted that
there had been a degree of collusion and apologised to
Finucane's family, told parliament.
"Sir Desmond is satisfied that there was not an
'over-arching state conspiracy to murder Patrick Finucane' but,
while he rejects any state conspiracy, he does find shocking
levels of state collusion."
"The collusion demonstrated beyond any doubt by Sir Desmond
- which included the involvement of state agents in murder - is
totally unacceptable ... Collusion should never, ever happen."
Quoting from the report, Cameron said the killers had
received active help from members of the police, army or
intelligence services to find Finucane, obtain a gun, dispose of
it, and then avoid justice as investigations were obstructed.
De Silva, who was given access to secret documents, said two
men involved in facilitating the killing had been in the pay of
security services at the time of Finucane's death, and a third
who was later convicted of the murder had become an agent once
his involvement became known.
One of the agents, Brian Nelson, was jailed for 10 years in
1992 while a case against the other, William Stobie, collapsed
in 2001. He was shot dead two months later.
Ken Barrett, who like Nelson and Stobie had been recruited
from within Protestant paramilitary ranks, was tried and
convicted of the murder in 2004.
De Silva came down heavily on the Protestant-dominated Royal
Ulster Constabulary (RUC), since replaced by a new force under
the terms of a peace agreement, and the army's Force Research
Unit, as well as British politicians of the time.
"My overall conclusion is that there was a wilful and abject
failure by successive Governments to provide the clear policy
and legal framework necessary for agent-handling operations to
take place effectively and within the law," he wrote.
A report in 2007 found that during the 1990s top officers in
the RUC allowed Protestant paramilitary informers to carry out
murders for more than a decade.
Finucane's widow Geraldine maintained her demand for an
independent public inquiry, one that has been backed by the
Irish government, and said yet another British government had
"engineered a suppression of truth" about her husband's death.
"This report is a sham, this report is a whitewash, this
report is a confidence trick dressed up as independent scrutiny.
But most of all, most hurtful and insulting of all, this report
is not the truth," she said in London.
"The dirt has been swept under the carpet without any
serious attempt to lift the lid on what really happened to Pat
and so many others."
Cameron repeated his apology to Finucane's relatives but,
mindful of the 200 million pound cost of the public inquiry into
Bloody Sunday - the shooting dead of 13 civil rights marchers in
Londonderry by British troops in 1972 - he said he would not
order a full public inquiry.
He said policing and security in Northern Ireland had been
transformed in recent years, but that 10 days of street violence
in Belfast showed that progress since a 1998 peace deal could
not be taken for granted.
"We will not allow Northern Ireland to slip back to its
bitter and bloody past," he said.