Irish Republican News · November 19, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New push in Finucane campaign

The widow of murdered Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane is to brief key US politicians following a warning yesterday that the family will use all legal and political means at their disposal to secure a satisfactory inquiry into the murder.

Mr Finucane was killed in 1989 by the unionist UDA acting in collusion with British Crown forces.

The family have rejected the terms of reference of a proposed inquiry established by the British government. The terms have also been rejected by Justice Peter Cory, the retired Canadian supreme court judge who found last year, after an officially mandated investigation, that a full inquiry was required.

Earlier this week the Finucane family and former colleagues met with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for over an hour in Dublin, and Mr Finucane’s widow, Geraldine, travels to the United States next week. On Thursday they briefed Dean Pittman, the US consul-general in Belfast.

Dublin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern pledged to maintain pressure on the British government to establish a full independent and public inquiry.

Speaking after a meeting with the family, Mr Ahern said the Government would continue to articulate the need to have “as full an inquiry as possible, not moving one iota in relation to our principled stand for a full independent inquiry.”

A new British law allow for sections of the investigation to be heard in private -- but the Finucanes have insisted they will not co-operate unless all evidence is heard in public.

They believe the restrictions would hinder the independence of the inquiry, damaging both its effectiveness and openness.

Mrs Finucane said that the possibility of initiating a case against the British Government in the European Court of Human Rights had not been ruled out. It was also pointed out the British government might have breached an international agreement by setting up the inquiry under new legislation.

“The difficulty is that the control of the inquiry does not lie with the panel of judges. The control lies with the government and, in this case, it is the government that are under scrutiny and therefore that removes the independence of the tribunal,” she added.

Under the legislation, tribunals considering sensitive intelligence material will be able to do so in private. Controversially, ministers will also be able to direct the Finucane inquiry and other tribunals.

Former colleague Peter Madden said: “If the British Government is not prepared to do the right thing, the family are going to continue with their campaign and will not be afraid to embarrass them on the international stage.

“We have taken it to the human rights committee in Geneva, we have taken it to New York and Washington and have the support of the special United Nations rapporteur.

“Pat`s case is not going to be brushed under the carpet with a half inquiry.”

Geraldine Finucane said today`s meeting was a chance to update the US Consul General on their campaign.

“We told them that if (President George W Bush`s special envoy to Northern Ireland) Ambassador (Mitchell) Reiss has any further questions when I am in the United States for a personal visit next week that I am available,” she confirmed.

“We have also requested a meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton and following on from our meeting with (Progressive Unionist leader) David Ervine, we would hope to meet (UUP leader) Sir Reg Empey and the DUP.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News