Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams has accused the British government of using an investigation into the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane to block an inquiry into the controversial killing.
Mr Adams spoke out after meeting London police chief John Stevens last night.
Stevens has reported evidence of Crown force collusion in the Finucane murder and other killings during the conflict, but to little effect.
The government has blocked an inquiry on the grounds that criminal proceedings arising out of the Stevens investigation are currently taking place.
Mr Adams said he had told Mr Stevens that the Government was using his inquiry and court proceedings relating to it as excuses to obstruct a public inquiry.
“The institutional use of collusion for over 30 years has led to the deaths of hundreds of people, the maiming of thousands more and the terrorising of an entire community,” the west Belfast MP said.
“The Pat Finucane case is at the heart of all of this. That is why the British system is so determined to block a public inquiry.”
Meanwhile, the British government has been accused of dragging its heels over the setting up of public inquiries into other controversial killings.
Sinn Féin vice-president Pat Doherty said there was a real concern about the lack of movement on three public inquiries the British government pledged it would set up following the release of reports by the Canadian judge Mr Peter Cory.
Judge Cory, who was asked in 2001 by the Irish and British governments to consider the cases of six murders, called for inquiries into the murders of Lurgan lawyer Rosemary Nelson, Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright and the murder of Robert Hamill in Portadown in 1997.
“The British Government received Judge Cory’s Report last October. They sat on it for months before finally publishing a censored version. At that time they committed themselves to holding three public inquiries but have repeatedly failed to give such a commitment in relation to the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. Yet months on it seems that little actual progress has been made on establishing the three inquiries which the British Government has announced are to go ahead. I would share the concerns raised by these families over the current slow pace being adopted by the British government,” the West Tyrone MP said.
“Given the record of the British government in these maters and the culture of concealment which exists at the heart of the British system there is obviously real concern that there are those within that system who are determined to continue to suppress the truth. That would be completely unacceptable,” Doherty said.