All-party motion for public inquiry into Finucane murder

An all-party motion calling for a full public inquiry into the 1988 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is expected... to be endorsed in the Dáil within the next fortnight.
The motion is the latest stage in the Finucane family's campaign for an inquiry into the murder and will coincide with a planned trip to the US this St Patrick‘s Day.
The family is resisting demands from the British Government that any future inquiry should be held under the auspices of the Inquiries Act 2005. Under that legislation the most sensitive aspects of the inquiry can be held in secret and a government minister can decide what is made public.
The legislation was rushed through Westminster last year, despite strong condemnation from, amongst others, Judge Peter Cory who carried out a report into the controversial murder on behalf of the British government. Last week the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, wrote to the family urging them to support the new style inquiry.
In the letter he denied that the Inquires Act was the equivalent to “changing the rules” and insisted he had “no interest whatsoever in covering anything up”.
However Pat Finucane's son John said it was impossible for the family to cooperate with the inquiry. “The British Government hasn't honoured its commitments,” he said.
“They have all the answers in front of them. It would be farcical to go ahead with the inquiry without the family's support. The British Government stand alone in the world on this issue and we must put pressure on them.”
He added that following a meeting with the British Government earlier this year it had “become clear that perversely they (the Government) are more concerned with protecting the intelligence services than getting to the truth.”
The Inquiries Act has been condemned by a wide spectrum of political parties in Ireland and civil liberties groups in both Ireland and Britain.
Critics argue that the act will effectively suppress the truth about Pat Finucane's murder while creating the illusion of a public inquiry.
Pat Finucane was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) at his home in north Belfast on the 12 February 1989.
At least four of the gang that planned and carried out his assassination were agents working for either RUC Special Branch or the British Army's Force Research Unit.
UFF man Ken Barrett who claims to have shot Finucane has said publicly that the RUC asked him to target the Catholic solicitor.
The UFF quartermaster who supplied the weapons for the killing gave his Special Branch handlers information relating to the murder, but it was ignored.
Colm Heatley