Stevens' Report: Finucane family statement

17 April 2003

In advance of the delivery of the report by Sir John Stevens into allegations of collusion, Michael Finucane stated:

"The completion of Stevens III has been anticipated for some time and there have been widespread advance leaks of parts of the report in newspapers like The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. The persistent claim by Sir John Stevens and other members of his team - notably Hugh Orde - was that publication would be extensive and frank. Despite this, the completion and publication of the report has been postponed a number of times which has given rise to concerns that the report itself was subject to political pressure. It is now clear that those concerns were justified as nothing more than a 15-page summary is expected.

The latest Stevens report is an embodiment of broken promises and dishonoured commitments. It carries the hallmark of all of Stevens' work in Northern Ireland: secrecy and repression. This hallmark has, for over 15 years, been synonymous with Stevens' work. The latest report has taken four years to deliver and cost the public STG£4 million. The Stevens team claim to have interviewed 15,000 people, catalogued 4000 exhibits, taken 5640 statements and seized 6000 documents. None of this is available for public scrutiny. The only elements of the Stevens investigation that are open to public scrutiny are the failed proceedings against journalist Ed Moloney and the failed prosecution of the late William Stobie.

This report is widely believed to be some sort of 'systems analysis'; an examination of what went wrong in Northern Ireland and how that can be prevented in the future. On this level also, Stevens' work is flawed. Nothing went wrong. The 'system' worked exactly as intended and, in the British Government's eyes, it worked perfectly. The policy in Northern Ireland was - and may yet be - to harness the killing potential of Loyalist paramilitaries, to increase that potential through additional resources in the shape of weapons and information and to direct those resources against selected targets so that the Government could be rid of its enemies. Simple policy. Simple operation. Simply chilling.

We are convinced beyond any doubt that Britain's policy included amongst its victims one lawyer the rule of law could not stop. I refer, of course, to my late father, Patrick Finucane. His murder is just one example of what the British Government was prepared to do in order to further its own ends, but he is not the only casualty. My family and I call upon the British Government once again to establish a full independent judicial public inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane and the policy of collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries. The findings of the international judge, Peter Cory, should also be made public at this time.

Many people were murdered by these agents of the British State and this is the real price of Sir John Steven's report. It has been paid for not just with public money but with the lives of many people and it is for them and their families that the truth must be known."