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British aided Protestant killers. (News in Brief: Ireland).

Belfast -- After a four-year investigation, Sir John Stevens, commander of London's Metropolitan police, has produced documented evidence of something that Northern Ireland Catholics have long suspected: collusion between British agents and Protestant terrorists "was systemic" in the late 1980s.

Stevens' team of thirty detectives has found proof that police Special Branch officers, and the British Army's Force Research unit, had agents within outlawed paramilitary groups, notably the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The ostensible reason for the presence of these "moles" was the prevention of some killings; however, other lethal attacks, when known about, were allowed, even encouraged, to go ahead.

The UDA is known to have been involved in twenty-six murders in this time period. The most prominent Catholic victim was Patrick Finucane, a lawyer who specialized in defending IRA members. His son has claimed that he was targeted by the British government. Criminal investigations against security forces' officials are ongoing. Stevens however did not name any individual suspects in the collusion and would not comment on the possibility of a public inquiry. That prospect rests with retired Supreme Court of Canada judge, Justice Peter Cory, who is investigating the deaths of Finucane and five other people. His report is due later this year.

The Stevens report is putting obstacles in the way of a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process. Presently, negotiations are stymied by the IRA's reluctance to disarm completely and by the Sinn Fein party's distrust of the police force (Toronto Star, April 18/03).
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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