seems that even in death there is to be no respite
for Pat Finucane. Those seeking to lay his memory
to rest unblemished by innuendo are facing obstruction,
for the most part crudely put rather than subtly made.
Fortunately, those determined to undermine the collusion
case against the British state by inferring Pat Finucane
was not the blameless, innocent "human
rights" lawyer beloved of nationalist Ireland
and the quasi-liberal chattering classes in the United
Kingdom suffer a severe credibility deficiency.
When asked in the Dublin High Court in May 1998 can
you think of a single person in the last ten years
to whom you did not tell lies? Sean OCallaghan
simply responded no.
however, has not deterred him from making a limp-wristed
effort to protect the British state through an article
in the Daily Telegraph in which he alleged Pat Finucane
was first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and
he exploited his position ruthlessly to wage his war
on the state. Consequently, the outrage generated
by his death is nothing other than a finely
honed weapon to wage war by other means against the
British state and the Unionist people of Northern
do not know if Pat Finucane was a member of the IRA.
Just as I no more know if John Hume was a member.
What I can state for certain is that if either ever
held volunteer status within the organisation I never
heard of it. And in a body where its security on these
matters is more mythical than real it is difficult
to imagine that such knowledge could have been permanently
banned from the republican grapevine.
is insufficient for the IRA to deny the membership
of one of its volunteers for the issue to be left
at that within republican ranks. On a number of occasions
IRA volunteers were killed by loyalist death squads
- in one there was direct evidence of state collusion
- and the leadership allowed the dead to pass as innocent
Catholic victims of loyalist sectarian killings. But,
in all the cases that I am aware of, the information
while not always entering the public discourse was
very much a feature of the republican grapevine.
knew Pat Finucane. He represented me in 1983 when
I faced a charge resulting from the testimony of a
former IRA volunteer who underwent a religious conversion
while living in Amsterdam and subsequently decided
to give evidence against those he claimed were his
former comrades. I had served time on the blanket
wings with one of Pat Finucanes brothers and
had heard Pat mentioned frequently before I met him.
All references were to his football interests, legal
work and his family. At no time was any association
with the IRA remotely hinted at. And in those wings
there was no shortage of IRA secrets revealed.
I first met him in the holding cells of Crumlin Road
Prison we had more than enough time to talk in confidence.
I was already serving life so he was aware of my status
as an IRA volunteer. Never once did he display anything
other than a totally professional and somewhat detached
attitude. What small talk there was, it in no way
related to the IRA. In fact I treated Pat like all
solicitors, despite being a comrade of his brother,
and viewed him with the typical inbred IRA caution
shown to all not belonging to the organisation.
claims to have met the solicitor in the latters
capacity as an IRA volunteer. It would be amazing
in the IRA if such membership could occur and be effectively
concealed. Why was it never suggested against him
in a super grass case, nor the subject of loose talk
within the jail from all of those on whose behalf
he acted, according to OCallaghan, as a trusted
conduit between the IRA prisoners and the leadership
on the outside.? Why did O' Callaghan not mention
it in his book The Informer? If every other high profile
figure in the IRA was mentioned how did a celebrity
case like Pat Finucane manage to escape? And if Finucane
was a member of the IRA presumably O' Callaghan told
his handlers. Why then did the handlers version
not filter through to John Stevens?
The latter found that Pat Finucane was not a member
of the IRA despite the initial allegation emanating
from Jack Hermon when he sought to influence Douglas
Hogg against human rights figures within the Northern
legal profession. As the Stalker case demonstrates,
senior English police figures are aware that being
influenced by Hermon is hardly the most propitious
of ways to reach frank conclusions pertaining to malevolent
only conclusion that it seems plausible to arrive
at is that O Callaghans intervention is a matter
of timing. In the words of Sam Smyth in the Irish
Independent (hardly the launch pad for an assault
on the British state and unionists) by posthumously
branding the late Pat Finucane a member of the IRA
last week, he tried to mitigate the role played by
his paymasters and protectors in the murder of the
in life as a means to disparage his commitment to
human rights, the name of Pat Finucane continues to
be sullied 14 years after his death as part of the
attempt to curb those same human rights. The incredulity
meeting such posthumous allegations suggests that
throwing Sean OCallaghan in was hardly a case
of keeping the best wine to the last.
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