Posted By: June 24, 2015

Allison Morris. Irish News.Wednesday, June 24, 2015
IF IT is truth and recognition the majority of victims seek then it has been a productive few months.

Not because of anything the governments at Stormont or Westminster have done – because any official mechanisms to deal with the past remain in political limbo – but because of those families who have refused to give up, aided by solicitors who have shown dogged determination and journalists who are willing to expose the dirty nature of the conflict here in Northern Ireland.

I must also include the actions, support and words of a few decent politicians in this fight for the truth who continue to raise the victims issue, excluding the dishonourable few who wheel out the vulnerable as vote winners – I’ll let you the readers work out which is which. The most recent exposé of the murderous nature of the relationship between the British state and sections of loyalist paramilitary groups reached an all Ireland audience after RTÉ made a rare foray into the murky world in the documentary Collusion.

Despite the coordinated social networking reaction from some there were no big revelations to those of us who have spent years working in this area.

The same social media accounts remained remarkably silent during the previous week’s BBC Spotlight that covered state collusion involved in the running of IRA man Freddie Scappaticci who was little more than a state assassin when single mother-of-three Caroline Moreland was shot dead.

It should be noted that covering up state injustice is at times as much about what is not said as what is.

What the RTÉ documentary did do was give a human face to victims and their families who still feel pain at the murder of their loved one and anger that it was entirety preventable had the state not conspired against its own citizens.

Solicitor Pat Finucane has became a symbol of collusion and as such it’s sometimes forgotten that he was also a husband and father brutally murdered in front of his young family. A conversation around the table between his wife and children about what kind of man he was – not as a lawyer who angered the British establishment by being too good at his job but as a family man – helped remind viewers of RTÉ that it’s real people’s lives we’re dealing with and not statistics.

The review of his murder by Desmond de Silva concluded that all but one of the killer gang were informers. It is believed the order to kill the solicitor went much higher than RUC Special Branch, possibly as high as

Downing Street.

When the state, rather than uphold the law, seeks to pervert it by murdering members of the legal profession, then something is very rotten.

Mr Finucane was a rarity at the time of his death, a working-class solicitor in a profession still the domain of the elite with success heavily reliant on nepotism.

If the British government thought that by killing him they would dissuade others from following him they were very wrong.

His wife Geraldine said during the Collusion documentary that she was determined, following the murder of her husband, not to let it destroy her family.

But his children are not his only legacy, for the legal profession in Northern Ireland is now dominated by working-class, first-generation male and female solicitors who have been at the forefront of pursuing human rights and legacy cases.

As is often the case with bad British policy, the murder of Mr Finucane, rather than hamper the representation of republicans through the Diplock courts, simply bred a new generation of solicitors who have taken his place.

Lord Ken Maginnis – not the best advertisement for the British honours system – sought to defend the illegal actions of the security forces in Northern Ireland by using the fight-fire-with-fire argument, totally missing the point.

The state should never conspire to murder its own citizens and to use an illegal militia to do that – should they be members of the Mount Vernon UVF or an IRA serial killer – makes that government little more than a terrorist organisation.

By running informers involved in murder the RUC and British military intelligence were not fighting terrorism but orchestrating it and that will be their legacy.