Intelligence officer named in Finucane murder

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The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane were due to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street today, to press for an independent judicial inquiry into his killing.

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane were due to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street today, to press for an independent judicial inquiry into his killing.

The meeting comes the day after the senior British intelligence officer at the centre of allegations over the murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was named by a Dublin newspaper.

The Sunday Business Post identified the military intelligence colonel who commanded the top-secret undercover Forces Research Unit (FRU) in Belfast at the time of the murder in 1989. A Downing Street meeting is scheduled today between Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, and Tony Blair, at which she will demand an independent inquiry into her husband's murder.

The named colonel is now a Foreign Office diplomat stationed abroad and the newspaper also identifies his posting.

It has been alleged that a loyalist assassin controlled by the FRU murdered Mr Finucane after the solicitor successfully defended two men charged with the murder of two British Army corporals.

Mr Finucane's brother, Martin, said: "Tony Blair has a moral responsibility to us. In the 11 years since his death compelling evidence has emerged which strongly suggests British Army intelligence and the RUC were complicit in Pat's murder. The Northern Ireland authorities and British Government have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent information from coming into the public domain regarding his murder.

"The British Government should be embarrassed by the way in which they have handled this case and the fact that they continue to ignore the concerns raised by the United Nations, the Irish Government, US Congress, European Parliament and other distinguished bodies."

Today's meeting at Downing Street was arranged by the Irish premier, Bertie Ahern, who met the Finucane family in Dublin in February and has endorsed their demands for an inquiry. The support of the Clinton administration for the Finucane family is believed to have brought political pressure on Mr Blair.

The identity of FRU commanding officer has been shrouded in secrecy for many years. At the trial of the British agent Brian Nelson in connection with Mr Finucane's murder the officer was identified only as "Colonel J".

The murder is now being reinvestigated by an inquiry team headed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens.

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