24 years after Finucane killing, the damage limitation continues

12 February 2013

TODAY marks 24 years since solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead in a killing which has become a defining symbol of the state’s complicity in the Troubles.

The government-commissioned report into the murder has yielded secrets of the “dirty war” which still have the power to shock – such as the existence of a senior RUC officer helping loyalists procure weapons – but other pieces of the picture remain off-limits to this day.

The review by Sir Desmond de Silva portrays intelligence agencies within the British Army, RUC and MI5 not only at war with each other, but deeply enmeshed with loyalist paramilitaries engaged in a vicious sectarian murder campaign at that time.

When the report was published two months ago, the Government presented it as the final word on collusion in the Finucane case. But does the de Silva review hold anyone to account or, instead conveniently lay much of the blame at the feet of dead men and defunct institutions?

The Detail has studied the report in-depth and spoken to some of those who know the case best, including Mr Finucane’s youngest son, John, who is now himself a solicitor and who maintains that de Silva raises more questions than it answers.