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Pat Finucane's son John to stand in North Belfast as Sinn Fein candidate

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly has said that Belfast solicitor John Finucane will stand as the party’s North Belfast candidate in the Westminster election on June 8.

Mr Finucane is the son of the murdered solicitor Pat Finucane. The Belfast man was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.

The killing, one of the most notorious of The Troubles, is shrouded in controversy amid allegations that the security forces colluded with the gunmen from the outlawed Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Mr Kelly said he was proud to be nominating Mr Finucane and confident he will be returned as the first nationalist MP for the constituency.

Mr Kelly said: "I am proud to be nominating John Finucane to carry the torch for Sinn Féin in next month’s Westminster election on June 8th. John will be seconded by my colleague Carál Ní Chuilín MLA.

"This election is a contest between those who want the north to remain in Europe, who stand for equality for rights and for Irish unity and the DUP who support a hard Brexit, support Tory cuts and who have set their face against equality and rights.

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"Sinn Féin is the only party which can take this seat from the DUP, which can send a clear message to Theresa May that she has no mandate to take the north out of the EU, that she has no mandate for Tory cuts and she has no mandate to continue to deny equality and rights for all.

"I am confident that in John Finucane we can return a nationalist MP for the first time in the history of North Belfast and between now and June 8th we will be pulling out all the stops to make this possible."

John Finucane said in a tweet: "I'm very proud to have been nominated to go forward for selection as the North Belfast Sinn Fein candidate for upcoming Westminster election."

A Sinn Fein North Belfast selection convention will be held on Wednesday. Gerry Kelly, John Finucane and Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill will address the meeting.

The DUP's deputy leader Nigel Dodds is the outgoing MP for North Belfast and will seek re-election. The UUP has said that the party has taken a "unilateral decision" not run for the constituency.

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Background to Finucane case

The Finucane family has so far failed in legal bids to make the Government see through a commitment made during peace process negotiations at Weston Park in 2001 to hold a public inquiry into the Pat Finucane's murder.

Judges have upheld the Government's right to balance public interest factors, such as costs, when, years later, it opted to commission a review of case papers by QC Sir Desmond de Silva rather than instigate an inquiry.

In publishing his findings in 2012, Sir Desmond detailed shocking levels of state involvement in the case.

That included spreading malicious propaganda suggesting Mr Finucane was sympathetic to the IRA; one or possibly more police officers proposing him as a target to loyalists; and the mishandling of state agents inside the UDA who were involved in the murder.

While he found no evidence of an overarching conspiracy by the authorities to target the solicitor, Sir Desmond said the actions of a number of state employees had "furthered and facilitated'' the shooting.

He also said there had been efforts to thwart the subsequent criminal investigation.

While he was prime minister, David Cameron apologised to the Finucane family in the House of Commons.

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