Finucane family hopeful for public inquiry

  • 28 December 2005
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The family of Pat Finucane are canvassing cross-party support for a full public inquiry into his murder in 1989

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane hope to hold further talks with unionist parties in the coming weeks in a bid to get cross-party support for a full public inquiry into the 1989 murder.

Pat Finucane's family met with UUP leader Reg Empey and Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames recently to discuss the murder and their concerns that allegations of collusion surrounding the killing will not be properly investigated. The family have also requested a meeting with DUP leader Ian Paisley.

Since Pat Finucane was shot dead at his north Belfast home by an Ulster Freedom Fighters gang, which included at least three Special Branch informers, there have been persistent claims that the British Army and RUC Special Branch organised the killing.

"We are very pleased that Reg Empey and Robin Eames took the time to listen to us and we intend to keep both updated on any developments," said Pat Finucane's son John.

"We explained to them that collusion is an issue which affects all of the community, as it was a policy that was deployed against all sections of the community at various stages.

"The meetings were very positive and we hope to get a meeting with the DUP in the coming weeks."

In recent weeks the family also met PUP leader David Ervine. Unionist parties have traditionally been hostile to the idea of inquires into allegations of state collusion. The meetings are part of the Finucane family's ongoing attempt to have a full public inquiry into the murder.

Judge Peter Cory, called on by the British Government to asses the need for public inquires into six separate murder cases in Northern Ireland, recommended that Pat Finucane's murder, along with five others, be investigated by a public inquiry. However, earlier this year the British Government introduced the Inquiries Act which effectively means the most sensitive aspects of a public inquiry are held in secret. It also gives executive power to a government minister and not independently appointed judges. Both Amnesty International and Peter Cory called on judges in Britain and America to boycott public inquires held under these conditions.

In a separate development the inquiry into the 1997 murder of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison has been delayed. Inquiry chairman Lord Maclean said the delay was due to the "slowness" of government departments to co-operate fully.