Ahern backs Finucane family on public inquiry
Ahern backs Finucane family on public inquiry

The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, has pledged to support the family of murdered defence lawyer Pat Finucane should they not back the limited inquiry which has been offered into his killing.

Mr Finucane’s widow and her two sons yesterday told Mr Ahern that they would not cooperate with anything other than a full public inquiry.

The British government is due to publish proposals next month for an inquiry into the 1989 murder as recommended by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory.

However, British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy has already said that parts of the inquiry may be held in private to protect British interests.

Michael Finucane warned that if this happened his family would withdraw and that “the Irish government has said it will support that position if and when it arises”.

Speaking after an hour-long meeting with Mr Ahern, Mr Finucane said that the Taoiseach believed that “a proper government inquiry was the only mechanism that will address the killing”.

He said he believed the views of the Irish government had been “conveyed forcefully” to the British government on the matter.

The Finucane family will meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 2 to discuss the inquiry.

SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said: “It is outrageous that the British government proposes to pass legislation to hold part of the inquiry in secret.

“The SDLP is concerned that the very concept of public inquiries is about to be undermined, not just in the Finucane case but in many other cases where there is a strong public concern about the actions of the state.”

Commenting on the meeting today between the Finucane family and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Gerry Kelly, said that it was vital that the Irish government made it clear to the British government that “the years of cover up and concealment had to end”.

Mr Kelly said: “Since the murder of Pat Finucane successive British governments have failed to allow the sort of independent inquiry which is acknowledged as the only mechanism which can reveal the truth to proceed. In short they have continued to cover-up and conceal their role in the state sponsored murder of citizens.

“The approach of the British government to the Finucane case in recent weeks has served to reinforce fears that this British policy of concealment is set to continue.”

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