Belfast Telegraph

Loyalists issue threat against new Belfast mayor John Finucane

John Finucane with his mum Geraldine
John Finucane with his mum Geraldine

Sinn Fein's new Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane has said that police have informed him loyalists were planning to attack him in his family home.

Mr Finucane's father, Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, was killed at his home by loyalist paramilitaries in February 1986.

The recently elected Belfast councillor said that police visited him at his home on Tuesday night to warn him of the threat.

“I am committed to serving and representing all the people of this city and I will not be deterred from that by threats from anyone," Mr Finucane said.

“This is not just a threat against me but it is also a threat against democracy.”

Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said that the threat was "reprehensible" and must be condemned.

“The reference to his family home was clearly deliberate, given this is where his father was murdered by loyalists," he said.

“It is a cowardly attempt to intimidate the newly-elected first citizen of Belfast. And while this must be a very traumatic experience for John and his family, I know that he will not be deterred from representing everyone as Ard Mheara.”

A PSNI spokesperson said that while they do not discuss the security of individuals, if they receive information that a person's life may be at risk, they will inform them.

"We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk," the spokesperson said.

Pat Finucane
Pat Finucane

Mr Finucane also works as a solicitor in Belfast and entered politics in 2017, running as a candidate for the House of Commons in North Belfast.

The murder of his father was one of the most notorious of the Troubles. He was killed while eating Sunday dinner with his family.

Mr Finucane had come to public attention while representing a number of high-profile clients, including IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Following his murder the UDA accepted responsibility for the killing.

After being installed as Lord Mayor on Tuesday John Finucane said that he wanted to represent everyone during his time in office.

He highlighted family links to the British military and Orange Order and urged unionists to judge him "with an open mind".

"I am a republican, I have family members who are unionist, I have family members who are neither of the two, and I think that diversity can only make our city stronger, because certainly I have felt the benefit of that particular upbringing," he said.

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