Wednesday 7 March 2012

The shooting of three IRA members by the SAS in March 1988 is linked to a major review commissioned by the Prime Minister David Cameron


The shooting of three IRA members by the SAS in March 1988 is linked to a major review commissioned by the Prime Minister David Cameron, it has emerged. Sir Desmond de Silva , PC,QC, a member of the Gibraltar Bar, was asked by the Prime Minister to chair a Review into the assassination of a well-known Belfast lawyer - Patrick Finucane, in 1989. As this case has had attached to it allegations of state collusion in the murder Sir Desmond’s Review will involve an examination of the activities of the intelligence services, the police and the army in Northern Ireland at the time. In order to properly discharge the work of this Review, Her Majesty appointed him a member of Her Privy Council. A Gibraltar connection springs from the SAS shootings of IRA operatives on the Rock. Mairead Farrell, who was one of the IRA operatives who was shot dead in Gibraltar, was engaged to be married to Seamus Finucane the brother of Patrick, whose own killing allegedly by agents of the state, Sir Desmond is currently investigating. It is understood that once the Review is complete and his Report is presented to Parliament Sir Desmond will return to his busy practice in London and abroad. Although he has been involved with the prosecution of some very high profile cases he is, perhaps, best known as a hugely successful defence QC who has, in Gibraltar alone, defended in many contested cases before the Supreme Court. On the October 12 2011 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland appointed Sir Desmond de Silva QC to carry out an independent review into state involvement in the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989. Sir Desmond de Silva is determined to expose the truth about this “appalling” murder. “I know from my work internationally over many years that it is only when the truth is fully exposed that communities can put the trauma of conflict behind them to secure a lasting peace. Naturally, I will be applying the key principles of independence, thoroughness and impartiality in carrying out my work. The Government may have set my remit but it is now for me to take the task forward independently. There have been suggestions that this Review is not capable of hearing from individuals who may have information that could assist me in my work. This is not the case; I will certainly wish to see such individuals.” Sir Desmond asked any who may be able to assist to come forward and contact the Review at any stage to provide information or make representations. BBC reported that when they met last October 2011, the family of Pat Finucane cut short a meeting with Mr Cameron after the Prime Minister failed to order an inquiry into the killing. His family have long campaigned for an independent public inquiry. Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine told reporters she felt so angry she could hardly speak. Mr Finucane’s family said they were “insulted” at the proposal for a review of the case and said they would continue their campaign for an independent public inquiry and would not participate in the review. Sir Desmond has written to the family asking them to contribute to the review.