State Violence and Collusion Timeline 1991

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Events related to state violence and collusion in Northern Ireland in 1991.


  • 24 - Peter McTasney shot dead in a sectarian attack by the UVF in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim.[1] Policing Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan would later link RUC "informant 1" Mark Haddock to the killing.[2]


  • 19 - In a minute to the Attorney General, the Secretary of State for Defence wrote: "We cannot expect to obtain valuable intelligence from agents who are not at the heart of the target organisation or group. We must establish proper guidelines for all those concerned. I believe that it is unacceptable that there are no clear legal rules of guidance to cover the specific circumstances of agent-running in the terrorist environment of Northern Ireland."[3]


  • 14 - Lieutenant Colonel James Gordon Kerr was awarded the O.B.E. in recognition of meritorious service in Northern Ireland. David Moyles received an M.B.E. at the same time.[4]


  • Undated June - FRU commander A/16 is tasked by the MOD to lead on the Army's response to the Nelson case, including advising the MoD on "any aspect of the content of the FRU documents".[5]


  • 15 - In a memo, a Security Service officer recorded that: "There is … some restraint on developing the T Branch relationship with the FRU much further. The liaison has to be conducted with some delicacy in order to protect T8's steadily improving close operational relationship with the RUC." [6]


  • 1 - The UDA's Ken Barrett contacts RUC CID detective Johnston Brown who visits him at his home. Barrett offers his services as an informant but specifies there is to be no role for RUC Special Branch.[7]
  • 3 - Johnston Brown gives a briefing at Special Branch Regional Headquarters in Castlereagh. SB officers have already been in contact with TCG Belfast. Brown is told he will meet Barrett accompanied by a Special Branch officer. At a meeting that evening Barrett suspects correctly that one of Brown's companions is from Special Branch but nevertheless admits to his involvement in the killing of Pat Finucane.[8]


  1. David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea, Lost Lives, Mainstream Publishing, 2004, p.1227.
  2. Statement by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland on her investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Raymond McCord Jr and related matters, 22 January 2007, p.7.
  3. Sir Desmond de Silva, Volume 1 - Chapter 4: Agent-handling, Pat Finucane Review, 12 December 2012.
  4. Issue 52530, page 7427, London Gazette, 13 May 1991.
  5. Sir Desmond de Silva, Volume 1 - Chapter 7: The activities of Brian Nelson 1987- 89, Pat Finucane Review, 12 December 2012.
  6. Sir Desmond de Silva, Volume 1 - Chapter 3: Intelligence structures, Pat Finucane Review, 12 December 2012.
  7. Johnston Brown, Into The Dark: 30 Years in the RUC, Gill & Macmillan, pp.160-168.
  8. Johnston Brown, Into The Dark: 30 Years in the RUC, Gill & Macmillan, pp.170-183.