US Congress backs Finucane cause
US Congress backs Finucane cause

The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to call on the British government to reconsider its position on the inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

Legislation demanding a “full, independent public” inquiry into the 1989 murder was passed by a margin of 390 votes to 5.

The resolution calls on the British government to “reconsider its position on the matter of an inquiry into the murder of Mr Finucane, to amend the Inquiries Act of 2005, and to take fully into account the objections...raised by the Finucane family”.

Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory had recommended a public inquiry into the 1989 loyalist murder of the Catholic defence lawyer. It is widely accepted that British forces colluded in Mr Finucane’s murder.

The British government still proposes to hold an inquiry into the killing but under the heavily criticised Inquiries Act, which the family and human rights groups believe will prevent the full surrounding the circumstances of the murder being disclosed.

Mr Finucane’s son Michael welcomed the backing from the US House of Representatives.

“The significance of the Resolution passed by the Congress of the United States should not be underestimated,” he said.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly welcomed the vote and urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to honour a public commitment he made in negotiations to establish a fully independent international inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

“Since the murder of Pat Finucane and the obvious involvement of the British State in it, successive British governments have sought to frustrate the search for the truth,” said Mr Kelly. “The culture of concealment remains to this day.

“The British government need to realise that the demand by the Finucane family for the truth will not simply disappear. The current legislation under which the British government are planning to conduct the inquiry will frustrate the search for justice.

“The decision by the House of Representatives to endorse the position of the Finucane family in opposition to the British proposals is an important step and very much places the British government in the dock.”


Meanwhile, Belfast woman Jean McBride, whose son Peter was murdered by two soldiers 13 years ago, spoke to US government officials at the weekend.

Mrs McBride met US special envoy Mitchell Reiss and consul general Dean Pitman. She is objecting to a $300m contract which the US government has with a firm that co-ordinates private security in Iraq.

The company, Aegis Defence Service, is headed by former Lt Col Tim Spicer, who was commanding officer of the soldiers who shot Mr McBride.

A number of politicians in the US have already raised concerns about Aegis with the US government, including Senators John Kerry and Hilary Clinton.

“I told the ambassador that his government would not take kindly to the Irish or British governments doing business with someone who justified the murder of a US citizen and that I don’t take kindly to the US government doing business with someone who has accused my son of carrying a bomb and who has justified the shooting, in the back, of my unarmed 18-year-old son,” Mrs McBride said.

Mr Reiss revealed that the Pentagon is investigating reported links between Aegis and a video showing armed guards shooting at civilians in Iraq.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News