Irish Republican News · September 28, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Blair broke Finucane pledge - Durkan
Blair broke Finucane pledge - Durkan

Tony Blair has been accused by the SDLP leader Mark Durkan of breaking pledges over the issue of British collusion with unionist paramilitaries.

Durkan said the inquiry announced into the 1989 murder of Belfast defence lawye Pat Finucane did not fulfil promises made to his party during talks at Weston Park three years ago.

On Thursday, the British government announced a inquiry into the murder and insisted it would not be a cover-up -- although parts of the inquiry will be behind closed doors under new legislation currently being drafted.

Mr Durkan told the BBC on Saturday that it did not match Judge Peter Cory’s recommendation of a public inquiry, which met certain key standards.

Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish Governments to examine allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane and other controversial killings following the 2001 talks at Weston Park in the British midlands.

“We got a clear commitment from Tony Blair, a clear promise and Tony Blair’s in breach of that promise,” Mr Durkan said.

“And that’s what we keep saying to Tony Blair - there was an unambiguous, unqualified promise that he made to us at Weston Park.

“After Weston Park, he made that unambiguous commitment to the public, including to the Finucane family, and he needs to honour it.”

Media investigations have shown that Mr Finucane’s killing was set up by British double-agents in the paramilitary UDA and enabled by the actions of the RUC police.

US LAWYERS CONCERN

Meanwhile, a US-based lawyers’ group has written to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing “deep concern” at the failure to announce a full public inquiry into the Finucane murder.

The Washington DC-based Human Rights First, formerly known as the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, told Mr Blair his government’s plan for new legislation would “unnecessarily delay” the long-awaited inquiry into collusion between state forces and loyalist paramilitaries and would “fuel suspicion” that the government is seeking to avoid an independent inquiry.

They say the 1921 legislation, used to govern the Bloody Sunday inquiry, is appropriate as it contains measures to protect national security.

The group has campaigned for a judicial inquiry into the Finucane case since 1992 and claims that the evidence it has gathered points to police and British army involvement in the murder.

The letter to Mr Blair states: “We believe that only a full, independent, public inquiry can determine the full scope of security force involvement in the murder.” It continues: “Further delays must be prevented to prevent any additional loss or destruction of evidence and unavailability of key witnesses.”

© 2004 Irish Republican News