| 10°C Belfast

Government to announce public inquiry decision on Pat Finucane murder

The Belfast solicitor’s family have sustained a long campaign for an inquiry into the extent of state collusion with the loyalist killers

Close

Geraldine Finucane, the widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, accompanied by her sons John (right) and Michael (left) (PA)

Geraldine Finucane, the widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, accompanied by her sons John (right) and Michael (left) (PA)

Geraldine Finucane, the widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, accompanied by her sons John (right) and Michael (left) (PA)

The UK Government will later announce whether it will hold a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis will tell the solicitor’s family how the state will respond to a court judgment that found it had failed to hold an “effective investigation” into his death at the hands of loyalist paramilitaries.

Mr Finucane, a 39-year-old solicitor who represented both republican and loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles, was shot dead in his family home in north Belfast in February 1989 by the Ulster Defence Association in an attack found to have involved collusion with the state.

Close

Pat Finucane (PA)

Pat Finucane (PA)

PA

Pat Finucane (PA)

Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine and the couple’s three children have been campaigning for decades for a public inquiry to establish the extent of security force involvement.

Last year, the Supreme Court said all previous examinations of the death had not been compliant with human rights standards.

The court acknowledged Mrs Finucane had been given an “unequivocal undertaking” by the Government following the 2001 Weston Park agreement that there would be a public inquiry into the murder.

Belfast Beat Newsletter

Receive the big stories from across Belfast directly to your inbox

This field is required

However, the Supreme Court judges found that the Government had been justified in later deciding against holding one.

The court said it was up to the Government to decide what form of investigation was now required, if one was feasible.

Amid a Government delay in responding to the judgment, Mrs Finucane took fresh judicial review proceedings against the state.

Last month, Mr Lewis’s lawyers gave a High Court judge in Belfast a commitment that a decision would be announced by November 30.

The Secretary of State will inform the Finucane family of his intention on a virtual call on Monday afternoon.

Ahead of that conversation, Sinn Fein has warned that failure to order a public inquiry will have profound implications for confidence in the rule of the law.

Party vice president and Stormont Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Monday would be a “day of reckoning” for the Finucane family.

“The British government’s approach of delay and denial has literally run out of road,” she said.

“It is a matter of huge public interest that there is full and maximum disclosure around questions about who ordered the killing, about who knew what, and when.

“Those involved must be held accountable. Until now there has been virtual impunity for the British state agencies and actors involved in the killing.

“Any attempt by the British government to ignore the family, political and wider public demands for a public inquiry will have profound and fundamental implications for confidence in the rule of law, the administration of justice and the wider approach to legacy.

“Now is time for the British government, and the British Secretary of State Brandon Lewis, to finally listen to the Finucane family and call a public inquiry as a matter of public interest. There can be no further delay.”

Close

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

PA

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Former prime minister David Cameron decided not to hold a public inquiry into the murder, but instead ordered a review of all the files related to the case by former UN war crimes prosecutor Sir Desmond de Silva QC.

Sir Desmond found significant levels of state collusion involving the Army, police and MI5 but said there was no evidence of an “overarching state conspiracy”.

His findings prompted Mr Cameron to apologise to the Finucane family for “shocking levels of collusion”.

However, Mrs Finucane branded the de Silva report a “whitewash”.

Last week, three other Stormont parties – the SDLP, Alliance and Greens – joined Sinn Fein in writing to Mr Lewis to demand a public inquiry.

The Irish Government also called on its UK counterparts to order a probe, as did 24 members of the US Congress.

Mr Finucane’s son John, a solicitor and Sinn Fein MP for North Belfast, tweeted on Sunday evening:

“Tomorrow my family & I will hear the British Govt response to our Supreme Court victory regarding an inquiry into my father’s murder.

“In advance I wish to thank everyone across Ireland & internationally, for the incredible support you have given us. We deeply appreciate it.”

PA


Top Videos



Privacy