Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

17 April 2003 Edition

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Secret Stevens report will not do

By the time you are reading this, PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde will have received a 15-page summary of John Stevens' third report on alleged crown forces collusion in the Six Counties.

The completion and publication of the report has already been postponed a number of times, giving rise to concerns that it has again been subjected to political pressure. With only 15 pages out of 3,000 to be made public, it looks as though those concerns have been justified.

Indeed, the Stevens report is an embodiment of broken promises and dishonoured commitments. It is widely believed to be some sort of 'systems analysis'; an examination of what went wrong in the Six Counties and how that can be prevented in the future. What it doesn't seem to grasp is that nothing went wrong. The 'system' worked as intended and, in the British government's eyes, perfectly.

Throughout the conflict, the British establishment tried to have it both ways. They claimed that they were maintaining the rule of law, while engaging in a ruthless campaign of shoot-to-kill and collusion with loyalists to eliminate their perceived enemies, military or civilian.

In the words of Patrick Finucane's son Michael: "Simple policy. Simple operation. Simply chilling."

A full independent judicial public inquiry into the assassination of Patrick Finucane and the entire policy of collusion with unionist paramilitaries is needed. The findings of Peter Cory, the international judge tasked to investigate the case, should also be made public.

For years, the British state and its agencies have lied, covered up and attempted to frustrate efforts by victims' families to find out the truth about the killings of their loved ones. Families and victims were ignored, vilified and marginalised by the state and its actions.

The first step is the publication of the full, and unabridged, version of the Steven's report. The second is the public inquiry demanded by the families.

Eddie Fullerton

While British state collusion is being somewhat opened up by the Stevens' report, the flawed Gardai investigation into Eddie Fullerton's death is still shrouded in a veil of secrecy.

His family are currently pushing for the Morris Tribunal, which is investigating alleged Garda corruption in Donegal, to widen its terms of reference to include Eddie's death. At least one garda, now under scrutiny and facing serious allegations before the Tribunal, was centrally involved in the investigation of Eddie's murder.

Donegal County Council has unanimously backed a proposal that the late councillor's killing be referred to the Morris Tribunal.

Like the Finucanes and other families throughout the Six Counties, the Fullertons have a right to a full public inquiry into the circumstances of the killing and into the Garda investigation, and there are many unsatisfactory elements to the force's handling of the case.

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