Irish Republican News · September 21, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Fears that Finucane inquiry will be fudged again

The British government has been warned against any attempt to water down an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

The inquiry could expose the truth of Britain’s ‘Dirty War’, in which it acted in collusion with unionist death squads to target and murder Irish nationalists.

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy is expected to confirm in the coming days that a public inquiry into Mr Finucane’s murder can go ahead. A written commitment is now said to exist following the conviction of unionist paramilitary and police agent Ken Barrett for his role in the murder.

However, nationalists and a leading human rights group have expressed concerns that the British government will use new legislation to attempt to hold back vital evidence on grounds of national security.

Jane Winter of human rights group British/Irish Rights Watch warned against any attempt to dilute a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of the Belfast defence lawyer.

“It appears the government is determined to withhold the powers of discovery that a public inquiry is traditionally entitled to,” she said.

“There is also speculation that the government would appoint a judge from its own judiciary and not an international judge as is expected.

“There are concerns this legislation will mean that the Secretary of State will have the power to order sections of the inquiry be held in private.

“These issues raise the question of the whole independence of an inquiry.”

Ms Winter pointed to the British government’s efforts to block the inquiry over the past 15 years through court cases and other investigations.

“Now when these blocks have been removed it appears the government wants to move the goalposts again,” she claimed.

“If that happens there is a serious question as to whether the Finucane family or anyone else could take part in any such inquiry.”

Sinn Féin assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly also expressed concern that the British government would attempt to withhold information.

“Our position is that we support the Finucane family in their call for a full, international, independent, public inquiry,” he said.

“Obviously that inquiry should have access to all relevant information relating to Pat Finucane’s murder.

“The whole reason for a public inquiry is to get to the truth of what happened.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News