A state in denial is the second of two major books on the Northern Ireland Troubles to emerge from research by the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten, each making extensive use of official documents from the National Archives writes Tom Griffin.
In the previous work, Lethal allies, Anne Cadwallader of the Pat Finucane Centre presented the evidence that proved beyond doubt the existence of a loyalist gang involving members of the RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment responsible for some 120 killings in Mid-Ulster in the 1970s.
Cadwallader demonstrated that opportunities to investigate the gang's activities were repeatedly passed up, and paramilitary infiltration of the security forces went unopposed despite official knowledge that this was the main source of loyalist arms.
While the existence of the Glennane Gang is now generally conceded, some critics of Cadwallader's book still resisted her conclusions about the role of high-level collusion in allowing the gang to operate.
A state in denial, by Margaret Urwin of Justice for the Forgotten, leaves the holdouts for the bad apple theory with an even more difficult task on their hands. She turns the spotlight firmly on the policymakers, and evidence of high-level collusion emerges on almost every page, from MI6 officers recommending collaboration with loyalist 'vigilantes' in the early 1970s to the Chief Constable lobbying on behalf of the Ulster Defence Association in the early 1980s. (more...)