Finucane family anger at inquiry snub

Published Tuesday, 11 October 2011
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The family of Pat Finucane have spoken of their anger after the Prime Minister ruled out a public inquiry into the loyalist murder of the Catholic solicitor.

Relatives, who met David Cameron and Secretary of State Owen Paterson in London on Tuesday afternoon, were expecting to hear that a public inquiry would be held into his death.

However, an 18-month long QC-led review into the circumstances of his murder has been offered instead, with no participation from the family.

Mr Finucane was gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife and children in his north Belfast home in 1989.

The family wanted a Bloody Sunday-style independent inquiry into allegations of collusion between the killers and security forces.

Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, says she was insulted by what was offered by the PM and called a halt to the meeting.

'I can barely speak to the media on this occasion, I am so angry," she told reporters outside 10 Downing Street.

I am so angry and so insulted by being brought to Downing Street today to hear what the Prime Minister had on offer.

Geraldine Finucane

Mrs Finucane, who said she was hopeful and optimistic before the meeting, added she could not understand how "yet another review of papers" could be justified.

"He is offering a review. He wants a QC to read the papers in my husband's case and that is how he expects to reach the truth," she said.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, who examined allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane case and other controversial killings at the request of the British and Irish Governments, recommended a public inquiry into the death.

Mr Finucane's son, Michael, who also attended Tuesday's meeting, accused the Prime Minister of "reneging on a commitment that the previous government made to hold a public inquiry".

He said that Mr Cameron had given the "feeble" explanation that public inquiries had not worked in similar cases.

"He seemed oblivious to the fact that the absence of participation by our family would mean we simply couldn't support what he proposed," he added.

The family said they would continue their campaign for a full independent public inquiry.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Mr Cameron told the family that investigations by Judge Cory and John Stevens, then deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police, demonstrated there had been state collusion in the murder.

The Prime Minister expressed his profound sympathy for the family and said it was clear from Stevens and Cory that state collusion had taken place in Mr Finucane's murder.

Downing Street spokesman

"He accepted these conclusions and on behalf of the Government he apologised to the family," the spokesman added.

"He confirmed that the Government's priority was to get to the truth in the best and most effective way.

"The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will set out the details of this process shortly," he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Government has pledged to support the family in their bid to obtain an inquiry.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that if Mrs Finucane was not happy with the outcome of her meeting with the Prime Minister, then the house would not be happy either.

He was responding to comments from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

Mr Adams said Mr Cameron's decision flew "in the face of the huge support given to the family by the (Irish) government, by the UN, by Amnesty International and a host of international agencies and political leaders, including in Washington."

Mr Kenny said Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will issue an invitation to Mrs Finucane to meet the Government next week to discuss how to move forward.

"I respect the Prime Minister's wish that the truth should be arrived at in the shortest time and that an apology should go to those who are bereaved of the loss of their father and husband," said Mr Kenny.

There is no price you can put on the truth.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Meanwhile, SDLP justice spokesperson Alban Maginness described the decision as unacceptable.

The North Belfast MLA said: "After all this length of time one would have expected better from the British Government and Prime Minister on an issue that runs deep into the British military and security complex.

Mr Maginness said he wondered why the Prime Minister had "gone out of his way to raise expectations of a proper inquiry only to dash those hopes with his offer of a review."

However DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds welcomed the outcome.

"Everyone understands the desire of relatives to get the full facts about the death of their loved one," Mr Dodds said.

"However, history in Northern Ireland has shown that the kind of expensive open-ended inquiry demanded in some cases has not been able to bring closure for anyone involved and has actually increased community tensions."

He said that it is "extremely unlikely" that a satisfactory outcome could ever be achieved and the offer put forward by the Government is "entirely reasonable."

UUP victims spokesman Mike Nesbitt said: "I accept the family are left deeply frustrated by today's decision, but it was right to reach a decision and stop the costly impasse.

"What we need is an agreed mechanism, rather than a series of processes that serve to re-write history, painting the state and the agents of the state as the villains."

Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stewart Dickson said: "We need talks to be urgently convened between the parties here and the British and Irish governments to find a coherent way forward to deal with the legacy of the Troubles. "

© UTV News
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85 Comments
Jackie in Belfast wrote (1,020 days ago):
@Mark O - you are a better person than I am, if the IRA scum had murdered my father I could never forgive them. @ Henry - Hi Henry don't worry I still think you are a wee geg. I just get annoyed sometimes because your comments get published more than mine. You just stick to your truth and i'll stick to mine and we will get along just fine :-)
stephanie in belfast wrote (1,020 days ago):
@ everyone who posted a comment about wasting taxpayers money, how the family should pay for the enquiry themselves and that 'it is time to move on'. what bout the amount of taxpayers money that is used to 'police' the 12th july parades. not just 1 parade, BUT ALL OF THEM? what about the riots and fights that happen at these? should taxpayers money be used on these, if there is no money left? how about askong the orange order to foot the bill? oh, + its time to move on, yeah!! thats why there are parades happening every year bout something that happened YEAR AGO!! maybe its time to move on??
Pat Kelly in Strabane wrote (1,021 days ago):
Peter the 2 people you mention where killed by mistake. IRA Volunteers thought they were Brits therefore you can't compare the 2 cases and why would Madden and Finucane take on IRA victims cases? Do you seriosly expect them to get justice for RUC Personnal when it was RUC who killed their father? Republicans don't care about dead cops. They only care about Human Rights Violations carried out by The State and Loyalists. Also the IRA did not deliberatly target Lawyers. The State went out of there way to arrange Pats murder and Republicans want answers. We will get them as well or the Peace Process cannot move forward!
Mark O in Londonderry wrote (1,021 days ago):
Marty, it's clear you believe that are RUC personnal murdered by the IRA are not as important as Republicans or Catholics murdrered by Loyalists which says alot about you. Sure you wouldn't be a bitter bigot ah! On topic of Inquiries Either EVERYONE bereaved gets 1 or no-one should get 1. In this New Ireland of Equals Finucanes death is no more Important than Frank Hegartys. What makes people like you think it is? BTW In Policing Circles around the world the RUC are remembered as the Best Anti Terrorist Police Force of the 20th Centuary. They successfully infliltrated all terrorist organisations and with the help of the Army faught the terrorists to a standstill. The RUC were disbanded unbroken and undeated. The Police Memorial over in London lists the names of every Police Officer killed in The UK and the RUC are remembered fondly by fellow officers across thw world. If you don't believe me look have a search through google. Also what was young Finucane doing giving The Bobby Sands Memorial Lecture? You can't condemn Loyalists and cry about what they did if you supported Republicans terrorists and what they did. It's hard to sympathise with a family with a hyprocrital attitude towards terrorists and terrorism and as I predicted they got didn't get what they demanded and rightly so. My dads murder is unsolved, no-one ever charged, no visit from HET, no apology from Martin and no inquiry. The Finucanes got a conviction and turned down an Inquiry offered by Tony Blair. You can't have it all when most get nothing Geradline. I've accepted I'll never get Justice and in fact have forgiven the Provos who after injuring my dad with 3 rounds to the chest went on to put 2 more rounds into his head as he was being held in his wifes arms. No less Brutal than Pats murder ah!
henry in north belfast wrote (1,021 days ago):
@jackie, well ya know what they say( THE TRUTH ALWAYS HURTS) and didnt you say in one of your many post that i was a geg....i take it your not laughing anymore
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