Speaking to a packed hall at the west Belfast festival to deliver the PJ McGrory Memorial Lecture, Geraldine Finucane has described her family’s determination to expose the truth about her husband’s murder.
The widow of Pat Finucane accused the British government of condoning state killings by refusing to establish a public inquiry into the death of the Belfast defence lawyer
Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in his north Belfast home. A number of those involved in the killing have since been exposed as British agents.
Geraldine pointed out that by successfully delaying a public inquiry into her husband’s death for 15 years, the British authorities were ensuring it would become more and more difficult to establish the truth. But she was determined to fight on.
“My family and I will not stop travelling the road we have embarked upon until a fully independent public judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane is established,” she said.
“It seems, however, that the closer we get to the establishment of that public inquiry, the further away it is. It is a strange situation to be in where something you have worked for becomes more difficult to achieve the closer you get to it.
“I would like to compare the journey to climbing a mountain. The progress you make at the bottom of the mountain is quick because the ground is well trodden and the climb is not so steep.
“But as you progress up the slope and you get further away from familiar ground, the going gets tougher and the terrain steeper. The air is thinner and easy paths are more difficult to find. When you close in on the summit, progress can be slow, as each step requires more and more effort.
“The journey towards the establishment of a public inquiry into Pat’s murder is the mountain we have had to climb. The difficulty of the terrain is the resistance of the British state. Our summit, of course, is the truth.”
She also noted part of the most recent report by London police chief John Stevens.
“A British police officer, their foremost police officer, confirmed that collusion with paramilitaries was institutionalised, that it was entrenched, that all of the rumours and accusations, claims made over many years were absolutely true.” Geraldine pointed out that Stevens had admitted that collusion was “British state policy in Ireland”.
“The murder of Pat Finucane is not about the killing of one man. It is a documented example of a British Government policy in action, state-sponsored murder,” said Geraldine.
“When Judge Cory finished his work in October 2003, he delivered his reports to the British Government for publication, a commitment made in Weston Park by both the British and Irish Governments. This did not happen. The reports presented to the British Government were not published for six months after they were submitted.”
Mrs Finucane highlighted the comments of British Minister Douglas Hogg, who had “slurred the reputations of working solicitors”. She also mentioned the intelligence provided by the British Army to unionist paramilitaries through its Force Research Unit agent, Brian Nelson.
She went on: “I am now engaged in another court case against the British Government to compel them to commence a public inquiry into the murder of my husband as recommended by Judge Cory. I should not have to do this. The British Government made a commitment to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory and they are breaking that commitment,” she said.
“I have spent the last 15 years fighting to expose the truth behind the murder of my husband. I believe that the truth will remain hidden until a fully independent public judicial inquiry is established to investigate all the circumstances.
“The legacy of Pat Finucane will not be diminished for as long as one person demands the truth. It is this, the continuation of this work, this vocation, this ideal, that brings us together this afternoon in memory of Pat Finucane,” she said.