Serious allegations have been made over many years concerning collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries in a number of murders in Northern Ireland. These allegations have been raised repeatedly with the British Government through the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference established under the Anglo-Irish Agreement and more recently through the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference established under the Good Friday Agreement.
The recent Panorama programme "A Licence to Murder" has once again focused public attention on these disturbing allegations. In the case of Pat Finucane, the Government received a confidential report by British Irish Rights Watch in February 1999 which raised many of the allegations addressed by the programme. It was on this basis that the Government called for a public inquiry into the circumstances of his murder. In addition, the Taoiseach has expressed the Government's view that public inquiries should be established into the murders of Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill.