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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Collusion inquiry may take two years
Judge will examine murder of Pat Finucane at his home
Judge will examine murder of Pat Finucane at his home
An investigation into six controversial killings in Northern Ireland could take two years, the man heading the inquiry has said.

Mr Justice Peter Cory will probe allegations of collusion in several cases, including the deaths of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright.

The 76-year-old former Canadian supreme court judge was appointed by the British and Irish Governments last month.

Speaking at Stormont's Castle Buildings on Monday, he said the investigation would not lead to any prosecutions.

Justice Peter deCarteret Cory: Asked to carry out examinations
Justice Peter deCarteret Cory: Asked to carry out examinations
"I do know how terribly important this is to everybody and how anxious they are to get this done and I'll certainly do my utmost to work as quickly and expeditiously as possible," he said.

"I don't think I am being overly optimistic in that I can get it done within the time-frame."

Full backing

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid said Judge Cory had his full support.

"We will accept the recommendations as to further action from the independent international judge who has been appointed and that is Mr Justice Cory," he said.

"He will get the resources he needs. They will be provided either by himself with our support or by ourselves or the Irish Government."

Pat Finucane: Shot dead at his home
Pat Finucane: Allegations of collusion surround murder
In each case the judge will be asked to examine allegations of collusion between the security forces and the killers and to decide whether those claims merit a full judicial inquiry.

Mr Finucane, a high-profile Catholic solicitor, was shot dead by the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association in front of his family at his Belfast home in 1989.

Rosemary Nelson, a mother of three, died in a booby-trap car bomb attack at her home in Lurgan, County Armagh in 1999.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force was linked to the murder, but denied this.

She had reported shortly before her death that she had received threats from police officers.

The judge will also examine the case of the murder of the Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright inside Northern Ireland's high-security Maze prison by the republican paramilitary Irish National Liberation Army in 1997.

The other killings include the IRA murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan in south Armagh in the 1980s and the deaths of Lord Justice and Lady Gibson, who were blown up after crossing the border into south Armagh.

See also:

14 Nov 01 | N Ireland
26 Nov 01 | N Ireland
25 Oct 00 | N Ireland
28 May 99 | UK
20 Jun 01 | N Ireland
11 Feb 02 | N Ireland
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