Belfast Telegraph

Pat Finucane widow in legal action against Secretary of State

Move: Geraldine Finucane
Move: Geraldine Finucane

By Staff Reporter

The widow of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has launched legal action against the Secretary of State in a move which may increase pressure for a full-scale public inquiry into her husband's murder.

Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in February 1989 by loyalists in an attack found to have involved collusion between loyalists and the State.

The 39-year-old was shot 14 times while enjoying Sunday lunch with his family at their home in north Belfast.

Mr Finucane's death became one of the most notorious murders of the Troubles.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court in London ruled that there has been no "effective investigation" into Mr Finucane's murder, and that previous inquiries had not complied with the Finucane family's human rights.

The Supreme Court also found that while Mrs Finucane had been given "an unequivocal undertaking" that there would be a public inquiry into the murder, the Government was justified in later deciding against holding one.

Mrs Finucane said yesterday: "In February the Supreme Court ruled that all of the previous investigations into my husband's murder were ineffective and did not meet the standards required by European human rights legislation, and that it was for the British Government to decide how to proceed in light of the Court's judgment."

Mrs Finucane said that since the Supreme Court ruling the family had not had any meetings with the Secretary of State, despite promises to the contrary.

"Since that time two Secretaries of State have promised to meet with my family and our legal representatives in order to have meaningful discussions," she said. "No meetings have been offered and the Secretary of State has left me with no option but to bring court proceedings."

Mrs Finucane's solicitor Peter Madden confirmed that judicial review proceedings in the High Court were lodged yesterday.

"Government should move to announce a full independent public inquiry with the powers to compel the production of documents and the public examination of witnesses" he said.

After the Supreme Court ruling in February, Mrs Finucane called for a full-scale public enquiry - a call supported by organisations such as Amnesty International, as well as by Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald.

A UK Government spokesperson said last night: "The Northern Ireland Office is assessing what steps need to be taken next."

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