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On 12 February 1989 Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, was murdered in his home by gunmen from the Ulster Freedom Fighters. Much has been claimed and reported about Mr Pat Finucane in the press and by republicans but what actually are the facts about the self-styled "human rights lawyer" Mr Finucane.

Family Background

Ulster Unionist Security Expert and former UDR Major, Ken Maginnis MP said on 28/04/1999 "The reality is that Pat Finucane was a member of a dedicated Republican family, many of whose members were actively engaged in terrorist activity - that is a proven fact."

Let us look carefully at the decent "human rights" lawyer's background and family:

Pat Finucane's brother, John, an IRA man, was killed on active service in a car crash in the Falls Road, Belfast, in 1972. Another terrorist brother Dermot successfully contested attempts to extradite him to Northern Ireland from the Irish Republic, while a third brother was the fiancée of Mairead Farrell, one of the IRA trio shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988.

If the press are to be believed then Pat Finucane was an anomaly in his family by campaigning for "human rights" while his brothers were engaged in destroying human rights by murdering innocent Protestants. It is also puzzling for Unionists why Sinn Fein/IRA are campaigning so vigorously to defend the reputation of Mr Finucane as that of a "human rights lawyer" whilst justifying their murder of the Protestant Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Edgar Graham at Queen's University.

RUC Chief Constable's Witness

Sir John Hermon, the former RUC Chief Constable, stated that Pat Finucane had been associated with the IRA and had used his position to "act as a contact between suspects in custody and republicans on the outside". As Sir John was the RUC Chief Constable at the time and had access to all intelligence reports on the activities of Mr Finucane we can assume that he of all people is a credible and reliable witness.

Former IRA Chief of Staff's Witness

Sean O'Callaghan was the former Chief of Staff of the IRA and his veracity as a witness has been corroborated by both the British and Irish Governments and their intelligence services. Whilst a part of the IRA terrorist organisation, Mr O'Callaghan had intimate knowledge of the machinations and senior personnel of the IRA. Writing in The Spectator Magazine on 21 Oct 2000 he said:

Pat Finucane Obtained Finance for Importation of Weaponry

I take issue, however, with one recurring phrase in this affair, and that is the description of Pat Finucane as a 'human-rights lawyer'. 'Human-rights lawyer' suggests a person fiercely and without favour defending the human rights of citizens from state or terrorist abuse of such rights.

It does not suggest a person with ferociously strongly held political views, or membership of a secret terrorist organisation responsible for murder, mutilation and intimidation. But the truth, whether people like it or not, is that Pat Finucane was an Irish republican and a member of the IRA. Unless you believe that terrorists are justified in using the legitimate legal system to their advantage, he was not a 'human-rights lawyer'.

Let me go further. Pat Finucane was firstly an IRA volunteer of some seniority and secondly a solicitor who mostly represented IRA prisoners or the families of IRA volunteers killed by the security forces. I speak from personal knowledge. I first met Pat Finucane in 1980 at a high-level IRA finance meeting in Letterkenny in the Irish Republic.

Also present were Gerry Adams, Pat Doherty, Tom Cahill, Gerry Fitzgerald and several other people. The meeting took place in the upstairs room of a pub. Adams and Pat Finucane arrived together in the morning and left at lunchtime.

At that time, IRA finances were in a dire state and the meeting drew together people from IRA GHQ and its Northern and Southern Commands to discuss ways of putting its financial operation on a more structured footing.

Pat Finucane may have been introduced by name; others, such as Tom Cahill, certainly were. At the time I was working for the Irish government and faithfully reported back details of the meeting, which was exclusively composed of members of the IRA.

The next time I met him was in December 1988 in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast. I was on remand after giving myself up to the police and admitting my involvement in numerous terrorist crimes in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s. Pat Finucane tried officially to become my lawyer, but I did not sign the necessary forms. He did, however, visit me on a number of occasions. His purpose? To discover what I had told the RUC and to ascertain whether I intended to give evidence against accomplices.

He was very wary about what he said in the visiting cell, but in a cell underneath the courtroom he asked me one day what else I had admitted. I mentioned the attempted murder of a loyalist terrorist and went into some detail. He looked at me and said, 'And after all that, you still missed him.' There was no doubt that he meant the comment as a reprimand.

Republican and loyalist terrorist organisations have always desperately needed solicitors whose loyalty is not to their clients but to the security of the terrorist organisation. A suspected terrorist is arrested and is being questioned. A named solicitor is requested - let us suppose he is Pat Finucane. He wants to know if any statements have been made and any arms dumps, safe houses, individuals and so on compromised. He instructs his client to keep his mouth shut - 'Whatever you say, say nothing' - and then reports back to the IRA. That was one reason why Pat Finucane was so valuable.

Also, of course, he had almost unhindered access to clients on remand, which ensured a constant stream of messages between the prisoners and the IRA leadership on the outside, and between different sections of the prison.

I believe a full and proper inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane is both necessary and desirable. There is at present an inquiry into 'Bloody Sunday' and calls for one into the murder of Rosemary Nelson, a Lurgan solicitor. I have no problems with inquiries where it has been established that there are reasonable grounds to question the role of agents of the state. What I find repugnant, however, is the lack of honesty.

Did Pat Finucane or Rosemary Nelson ever campaign against the mutilation beatings, the knee-cappings or the exiling? Did they or the British state (even since the Belfast Agreement) ever call for an inquiry into the role of the present Northern Ireland Minister for Education in the IRA terrorist campaign?

Pat Finucane Helped Fund Terrorist Bombings

What about Le Mons, Claudy, Birmingham, Enniskillen and dozens of other atrocities? What about the role of the Irish Republic in the formation of the Provisional IRA? It strikes me that what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

If the intent in Northern Ireland was to create a peaceful period so that politicians could put a political framework in place, it follows that true reconciliation should be the next step. What we are seeing now is not reconciliation, but a desire by nationalists to continue the 'war' by other means. The blatant selectivity and hypocrisy is disgraceful.

I have been very reluctant to become involved in the Pat Finucane affair. His murder, I repeat, was wrong and I utterly condemn it. He was a member of the IRA, but that does not carry a death sentence. I wish that instead he had faced the full rigour of the law.

Whatever Pat Finucane was, he was not a 'human-rights' lawyer. For him to be so described is an insult to those who have without favour or prejudice upheld the human rights of citizens throughout the world.


There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr Pat Finucane was a leading member of the IRA. Testimony to this fact has been given by leading politicians, Intelligence Chiefs and credible witnesses from within the IRA itself yet these facts are ignored by republican apologists in the press and self-styled "civil libertarians."

Pat Finucane Helped to Finance Murder

One wonders what more evidence needs to be adduced to verify again the role Mr Pat Finucane played in the IRA campaign of genocide against the Unionist populace. Instead, we are subjected daily to claims of "collusion" and witness statements from unnamed "police sources" and loyalist "informers" while the named and credible witnesses set out above openly declare the facts. It would be interesting, also, for the Irish Government to release their intelligence files on Mr Finucane and see just how much they knew of his terrorist activities in this period leading up to his death.

However, the crocodile tears shed by republicans over the death of Mr Finucane is nauseating in light of his terrorist past. We suggest the press devote more of their energy to investigating the murders of innocent victims of the Troubles such as the 10 Protestant workmen murdered by the IRA at Kingmills in Jan 1976 or the four Protestant elders murdered by other Catholic paramilitaries at Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church in South Armagh in 1983. Why are Amnesty International and the Guardian not investigating the role of the Irish Government in setting up the IRA, the allegations of "Gardai collusion" in the deaths of the two Superintendents Harold Breen and Robert Buchanan returning from a Gardai conference in 1989, the Roman Catholic Church and its links to the IRA as illuminated in "The Informer" by Sean O'Callaghan etc etc?


Transcript of Irish News Article attacking FAIR

FAIR Response to Irish News Article