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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Cory reports: what was said
Rosemary Nelson
Rosemary Nelson died in a car bomb in March 1999
Politicians and relatives of four people killed in controversial circumstances have been giving their reaction to the British Government's publication of Judge Cory's reports on their murders.

Pat Finucane's widow, Geraldine, said she was angry at the government's decision not to hold an immediate public inquiry into her husband's death.

"This is a very disappointing but expected statement, the British Government continue to cover up the truth about the death of my husband with their delaying tactics," she said.

"We did not ask for the Stevens investigation, we did not ask for Judge Cory to prepare a report and we certainly have never asked for prosecutions.

"We have always said that these were delaying tactics and the delay continues but the campaign for a public inquiry will also continue."

The family of Rosemary Nelson said in a statement that she might be alive today if she had been treated with the "respect and dignity her professional position deserved".

(Clockwise from top left) Billy Wright, Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane and Robert Hamill
Pat Finucane: no announcement on any inquiry until the ongoing murder trial is concluded
Billy Wright: inquiry to start as soon as possible
Rosemary Nelson: police investigation is continuing but public inquiry would not prejudice this - inquiry to start as soon as possible
Robert Hamill: inquiry to start as soon as possible

They said: "We are both horrified and saddened, if not entirely surprised, by the graphic description of the abuse and vilification of Rosemary by members of the RUC contained within this report

"We are deeply affected by the apparent abject failure of both the NIO and the former Chief Constable to take seriously death threats issued to Rosemary shortly before her murder."

Diane Hamill, sister of Robert Hamill, said her family was pleased the government was going to act on Judge Cory's recommendation.

"For the last seven years this is all we have tried to get from the night that my brother was attacked and allowed to be murdered," she said.

"That is all we have ever asked.

"Judge Cory, a man of great integrity, has obviously agreed with us after his exhaustive research and now the British Government has acknowledged the need to establish one."

Billy Wright's father David welcomed Judge Cory's recommendations.

"Judge Cory has raised a number of serious questions about the conduct and actions of the Prison Authorities and Intelligence Agencies," he said.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde said he would co-operate with the inquiries.

He added that a debate needed to be held on how to deal with the rest of the unsolved murders during the Troubles.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was important that people in Northern Ireland tried to move beyond the past.

He said he did not know whether a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was the best way to do it, but there needed to be some way to allow people to express their "grief, pain and anger".

He said the government stood by its commitments in relation to the Cory inquiries but there were particular reasons why it was difficult to move ahead in the Pat Finucane case.

Pat Finucane
Legal issues will delay an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane

Although the Irish Government welcomed the decision to set up inquiries, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Brian Cowen, said he was disappointed the Finucane inquiry was to be delayed.

Democratic Unionist Jim Allister said the inquiries could make the "families of the thousands of forgotten victims of terrorism" feel like "second-class citizens".

He said: "It is outrageous that the taxpayer is going for years to come to be subjected to a series of Saville-type inquiries, costing further hundreds of millions.

"It is a token of just how behoven the government made itself to Cory that it is prohibited by him from going for the more economical Hutton-style inquiries."

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, said he was opposed to having inquiries of this nature which were contrary to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

However, he added: "If as a result of this, the truth about Finucane and Nelson comes into the public domain incontrovertibly, there will be some side effect.

Wider process

"I mention those two in particular because in the case of Wright a lot of his background and his terrorist activities are in the public domain and I leave out Hamill because there's no reason whatsoever to link him with others who have a clear terrorist connection."

SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood condemned Mr Trimble's comments as "reckless and hurtful".

"The comments made by David Trimble about Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson were insulting, inaccurate, outrageous and dishonest," he said.

Both the Finucane and Nelson families called on Mr Trimble to withdraw his comments.

Meanwhile, the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, has called on the government to clarify its position on the Finucane case.

"If the governments are telling us that there would have been an inquiry announced today into Pat Finucane's murder were it not for this prosecution, then let the government state absolutely, clearly and unambiguously, that as soon as that prosecution is disposed of, there will be an inquiry, no ifs or buts," he said.

Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein said Judge Cory's conclusions indicated strong evidence of collusion by the Army, the RUC Special Branch and the security services.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary David Lidington said he feared the inquiries "will not provide justice" and could stop people being punished for their crimes.

David Ford, leader of the Alliance Party, called on the government to develop plans for a wider process dealing with the issues of truth, reconciliation and justice.

"I am encouraged by remarks by the prime minister of a wider consultation process on how to handle these issues," he said.

"However, neither the prime minister nor the secretary of state have elaborated much on this issue."

Murphy's response to Cory reports
01 Apr 04  |  Northern Ireland
Reports court case adjourned
01 Mar 04  |  Northern Ireland
Court bid over Finucane report
13 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Dublin announces killings inquiry
18 Dec 03  |  Northern Ireland
Finucanes request murder report
01 Dec 03  |  Northern Ireland
Judge completes murder reviews
23 Sep 03  |  Northern Ireland
Unresolved deaths: A question of collusion?
02 Aug 01  |  Northern Ireland

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