24 November 2005

Finucane: Fear of leaks


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Pat Finucane

A brother of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has hit out at British authorities over fears that his details have been leaked to unionist paramilitaries.
Seamus Finucane was speaking after it emerged the PSNI called to his former home address in Belfast last Friday morning. Despite being advised that Mr Finucane no longer lived at the address, the PSNI has not yet called to his current home or contacted his solicitor.
Following revelations that dozens of nationalists in Belfast were warned about their security last week, Mr Finucane believes his personal details have also been found in the possession of loyalists. The PSNI has declined the opportunity to dispute Mr Finucane's assertion.
It has been confirmed by the PSNI that the latest threat warnings involving dozens of nationalists across the North are connected with the “disappearance" of a top-secret intelligence document from Castlereagh Barracks in East Belfast 16 months ago.
At the time 28 members of the Royal Irish Regiment (formerly the UDR) were removed from intelligence duties. However NIO direct rule security minister Ian Pearson denied that paramilitaries had possession of the information and SDLP policing spokesperson Alex Attwood reported a senior PSNI member attributing the document's disappearance to “research".
Seamus Finucane said yesterday that the “shadow of collusion" which was evident in his brother's murder still persists. “The onus is on the state to directly inform you if you are under threat," Mr Finucane said.
“Yet the circumstances of this current spate of threats are reminiscent of what happened to Pat, by some of the very same agencies directly connected with his murder and with the wider British government collusion policy.
“Personally I have been under threat on a number of occasions, the first time being in the months after Pat's murder when information was leaked from Dunmurry barracks.
“In recent years other members of our family have been under very serious threat from loyalists, which hasn't been addressed until top-level government interventions were forced.
“The British collusion policy has focused entirely on the protection of state agents and state agencies, rather than the protection of the right to life of citizens. That policy is clearly continuing to the present day," Mr Finucane said.
Responding to Mr Finucane's remarks, the PSNI issued a statement which said: “This is an ongoing proactive investigation. We very much appreciate the concern of those being advised about their personal security. However, it is vitally important that details are checked and that they are correct and current. This is being systematically progressed. Any individual who has concerns for their safety is urged to contact the PSNI immediately."
It also emerged yesterday that people notified that their lives were under threat last week have been offered just £150 by the British government to protect their homes.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

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