Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane 'deeply sorry' after police find him urinating in street

Council chief cautioned by police

Embarrassed: John Finucane
Embarrassed: John Finucane
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

The Lord Mayor of Belfast has apologised after he was sanctioned by police for indecent behaviour.

John Finucane was spoken to by officers following a late-night incident in the city centre.

He urinated in the street after being "caught short" after attending a social function.

He was issued with a community resolution notice - a means of dealing with less serious offences which avoids a formal prosecution.

The incident occurred in the Cathedral Quarter area on June 29 this year.

The 39-year-old is the Sinn Fein candidate for North Belfast.

Apologising, Mr Finucane told the Belfast Telegraph he was "very embarrassed and deeply sorry".

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"I can confirm that I accepted a community resolution notice for indecent behaviour (street urination)," he said.

"I had been out at a social event and was on my way home. I was caught short and made my way to my office on Castle Street.

"I realised I didn't have my key. I tried to find somewhere as discreet as possible off the main street.

"Two police officers then approached me.

"I co-operated fully with police, and accepted this community disposal.

"I am of course very embarrassed and deeply sorry about this incident and I apologise unreservedly."

The PSNI said: "A 39-year-old man was spoken to by police, following an incident in Belfast city centre at around 10.30pm on Saturday, June 29.

"He was issued with a community resolution notice for indecent behaviour following the incident."

Mr Finucane has been Belfast's First Citizen since May, days after he was elected to the city council.

It is understood Belfast City Council was unaware of the incident.

The council declined to comment.

According to the PSNI, community resolution "provides a quicker, more victim-tailored method of dealing with specific offences than a formal prosecution where a comparatively minor crime has been committed".

It is aimed at "(providing) a proportionate justice disposal for offenders with little or no previous offending history, to reduce the impact on their lives compared to other non-court disposals and encourages them to change their behaviour and not reoffend".

Mr Finucane's father Pat, a high-profile rights lawyer, was shot dead in front of his wife and three children in 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries.

John Finucane trained as a solicitor and works at a Belfast-based law firm.

In the 2017 general election, he stood as a Sinn Fein candidate in North Belfast, losing out to the DUP's Nigel Dodds by just 2,081 votes.

However, he increased the Sinn Fein share of the vote by almost 8%.

Mr Finucane was elected as a Belfast city councillor in the local government elections in May this year.

Less than three weeks later, he was appointed Lord Mayor, taking over from Deirdre Hargey.

The day after being elected, he was informed of threats to his life from loyalists.

In one of his first engagements as Lord Mayor, Mr Finucane welcomed the Prince of Wales to the city while he was on an official visit.

Mr Finucane is one of three candidates contesting the December 12 election, alongside Mr Dodds and Nuala McAllister of Alliance,

Speaking in September, he said: "This election has the potential to be an historic one for us and North Belfast is a key battlefield."

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