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13 March 2003 Edition

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Government-funded website brands Finucane

Sinn Féin has called on the British and Irish governments to investigate funding for a group whose website has made the inflamatory claim that human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was a leading member of the IRA.

The website, dedicated to the group FAIR (Families Acting For Innocent Relatives), alleges that there was "overwhelming evidence" from politicians, intelligence chiefs and "former republicans" that Finucane had financed IRA weapons shipments, killings and bombings.

FAIR was founded in 1998, after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and is made up mostly of relatives of members of the crown forces killed by republicans.

Last year, the group received £10,000 in funding from both the British government and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Its founder, Willie Frazier, insisted that its website is independently funded and that the group stood by the allegations.

"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 populance," the website reads, and it goes on to say that, "...the crocodile tears shed by republicans over the death of Mr Finucane is nauseating in light of his terrorist past."

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly branded the website allegations a disgrace.

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