Socialist Worker

Tories reject public inquiry in the murder of Pat Finucane

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2273

Tory prime minister David Cameron ruled out a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Cameron offered an investigation by a lawyer, who will not have the right to examine witnesses under oath. The plan offers the family of the murdered solicitor no involvement.

Geraldine Finucane, Pat's widow, said she had called a halt to a meeting with Cameron. As she and other family members left it, she said, “I can barely speak to the media on this occasion, I am so angry. I am so angry and so insulted by being brought here today to hear what the prime minister had on offer.”

Cameron has admitted at the meeting that there was state collusion in the murder but he looks certain to continue the cover-up over the case.

Pat’s son Michael said, “He seemed oblivious to the fact that the absence of participation by our family would mean we simply couldn’t support what he proposed.”

The Belfast-based Pat Finucane Centre said, 'The family have campaigned long and hard for an inquiry into the murder of Pat. They were told that a public inquiry would be set up by the British government. The Irish government was told that a public inquiry would be set up.

'At the meeting they were told that this was the 'best way forward'. This may be true for the security forces and agencies who wish to conceal the truth. It is certainly not the best way forward for the family.

'It was claimed that witnesses are not ‘available’ and that this would negate the effectiveness of any inquiry. This is a shabby and scandalous excuse.

'It is absolutely vital that any inquiry be allowed to delve into the involvement of the British Army Force Research Unit, RUC Special Branch and the Security Service MI5 in the murder. Britain is failing to honour the commitment it made to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory.”

The Canadian judge recommended a public inquiry after his investigation of a number of cases of collusion.

At the centre of the case are allegations of collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries.

Pat Finucane was a prominent figure because he represented republicans facing terrorism charges.

In January 1989 Conservative MP Douglas Hogg told the House of Commons that certain solicitors in Northern Ireland were “unduly sympathetic” to the IRA. Around the same time an RUC officer was reported to have told a client, “You will not be having Mr Finucane as a solicitor much longer.”

Three weeks later Pat Finucane was dead. A loyalist gang, using information from British intelligence smashed its way into his north Belfast home before killing him in front of his family.

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Wed 12 Oct 2011, 13:09 BST
Issue No. 2273
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