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Daily Ireland, 16 November 2005:

Finucanes call for lawsuit

Jarlath Kearney

Relatives of the murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane yesterday urged the Irish government to consider mounting an international legal challenge against the British government for failing to establish a “Cory-compliant” inquiry into the 1989 killing.

In their first meeting with Irish foreign affairs minister Dermot Ahern, Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine and other family members highlighted a range of serious concerns about the British government’s approach to the case.

Pat Finucane was a prominent and highly respected defence solicitor. He was shot dead in his north Belfast home in front of his family by an Ulster Defence Association death squad.

It has since emerged that five men directly associated with the murder were all working as agents for various branches of the British security services, including RUC Special Branch and military intelligence.

Following the Weston Park multiparty talks in 2001, the British and Irish governments agreed to implement any recommendations made by the Canadian judge Peter Cory after he had reviewed the Finucane case, along with five other controversial incidents involving alleged state collusion.

Judge Cory recommended a full, independent public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s murder on the basis of prima facie collusion between state forces and the UDA.

However, rather than establish such an inquiry, the British government announced its intention to examine Mr Finucane’s murder within the strictures of the controversial new Inquiries Act of 2005.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Mr Finucane’s former business partner and family solicitor Peter Madden told Daily Ireland that the Irish government had been urged to consider taking legal action against the British government.

Mr Madden said there appeared to be two options available to the British government. The first was to establish an inquiry under the Inquiries Act. The second was to announce that a proper inquiry could not now take place without the involvement of the Finucane family.

“We made it very clear to the minister that the family are not going to take part in any inquiry established under the new act,” said Mr Madden.

“The new act removes control away from a panel of judges and places it into the hands of a minister in the government which stands accused in this case.

“The family have asked the Irish government to continue supporting them in whatever stand they take in the time ahead.

“The minister made it clear that the British had violated the Weston Park agreement in relation to Pat’s case and in relation to not following Judge Cory’s recommendations.

“He pledged the Irish government’s continued support for the family.”
Mr Madden said the Irish government had not ruled out mounting an international legal challenge against its British counterpart.

Voicing support for the Finucane family, north Belfast assembly member and Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly attacked the British government for reneging on its commitment to establish a full independent public inquiry.

“Despite a public commitment after Weston Park to establish an inquiry into this killing, the British government have subsequently brought forward legislation which, in the view of the Finucane family, would ensure that any inquiry held within these parameters would not deliver the truth,” Mr Kelly said.

“The British state has, from the outset, sought to frustrate the Finucane family in their pursuit of justice and truth.

“They have sought to cover up the role of their own agents in this and other killings. It seems that this policy is continuing.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Finucane family in their campaign for the truth.

“It is also important that the Irish government do likewise,” he said.

Mr Kelly recalled the British government’s failure to assist Irish government inquiries into the 1974 Dublin-Monaghan bombings or the Co Louth killing of Séamus Ludlow.

The Sinn Féin representative criticised “the concealment and evasion which has been the mark of the British government approach to all these cases up until now”.



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