Obama backs Finucane inquiry
Obama backs Finucane inquiry

US presidential candidate Barack Obama has backed calls for an inquiry into the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane.

Two Irish-American lobby groups have secured the senator’s support for the campaign to force the British government to allow an independent, international probe into the killing.

Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in 1989 by a unionist paramilitary death-squad working under the control of British military intelligence forces. The British government continues to deny any role in the killing.

London has faced widespread criticism for its attempts to avoid an inquiry which does not allow its ministers to intervene on behalf of its national interests.

On Tuesday night the Irish-American Unity Conference said it had secured Mr Obama’s support for a fully independent inquiry, as recommended in a report by Canadian Judge Peter Cory.

“We are extremely grateful to Senator Obama for lending us his support,” said the murdered lawyer’s son, Michael Finucane.

“As Senator Obama points out, this was a recommendation of Judge Cory as a way to look at all the very serious circumstances arising out of the death of Pat Finucane.”

“And it is a recommendation that has not been implemented by the British Government.”

In response to a question on the establishment of a truth process for Ireland, Mr Obama’s team said: “Senator Obama would support a reconciliation process that seeks the comprehensive truth about past violence.”

It added: “Senator Obama believes there should be an independent, public inquiry as Judge Cory recommended.”

Michael Finucane pointed out that the 20th anniversary of his father’s death was to be marked next year and added that the campaign to uncover the truth of what happened would continue.

“As Senator Obama himself points out, disclosure of information would increase community confidence in the security forces and ultimately the institutions responsible for shaping the new society,” said Mr Finucane.

“In order to ensure that this society has the best chances of success, difficult issues such as the death of Pat Finucane must be completely and publicly addressed.”

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP welcomed Obama’s endorsement.

“This is an important and welcome position by the US Democratic candidate,” he said.

“It is crucial that state collusion continues to be highlighted.

“The onus is on the British government to acknowledge its role and that of its state forces directly and indirectly in the killing of citizens, including Pat Finucane.”


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was in the United States on a four day speaking tour this week to update US activists and supporters on the current crisis in the political process.

Mr Adams addressed meetings in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

Speaking to activists in Cleveland, the west Belfast MP said that the current gridlock exists in the peace process because the DUP had failed to honour commitments it made in the St. Andrews Agreement in October 2006.

But he added that the party was “coming at all of this positively” and that none of the issues were insurmountable “if the political will exists”.

“Our core political value is based on the right of human beings to be free citizens - liberated, empowered and equal,” he concluded.

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