Irish Republican News · January 13, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Negotiations over Finucane inquiry

The British government has said it will take another two months to decide if there should be a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane -- one of the most controversial killings of the conflict.

The Belfast defence lawyer was shot dead by a loyalist death squad in front of his family at home in 1989, the result of collusion with the British Crown forces.

It has since emerged that a number of UDA members directly connected to the Finucane killing were agents for various British forces at the time of the murder.

The British army, police and intelligence service have been implicated in the murder of a man who had been branded an ‘IRA lawyer’ by the then British government.

British Secretary Owen Paterson said this week that, with the agreement of the family, he had decided to consult further on whether an inquiry was “in the public interest”.

Earlier, it was confirmed that the Finucane family are in talks with the British government. Amid fears that further attempts are underway to limit the scope and possible fallout from an inquiry, the family have repeated their call for a fully independent inquiry into the case.

The family’s legal team said they met British officials last week. “Although these were constructive and useful meetings, the fact remains that the independence of a tribunal is fundamental,” said Peter Madden.

“It is hoped that the family’s concerns will be addressed and that a mechanism will be established which would result in a public judicial inquiry fully independent, which will have the support of the Finucane family, and all those who have supported the family in their long campaign.”

Sinn Fein called on Owen Paterson to fulfill British government commitments and implement an inquiry into the murder.

Junior Minister Gerry Kelly said: “A commitment was made to establish an inquiry into Pat’s murder in 2004 - it is totally unacceptable that the British government is continuing to stall on this issue.

“Pat’s family deserve truth and they deserve justice. The prolonged delay by (the) British secretary of state is completely unacceptable and only delays the process of truth and justice.”

In 2004, Paterson’s predecessor Paul Murphy announced his intention to hold an inquiry under the new Inquiries Act, which makes it accountable to the minister responsible rather than to parliament.

It is understood the British government is seeking to limit or obviate an inquiry by admitting that ‘rogue’ elements of British forces were involved in the murder but that no formal policy of collusion existed.

Last year, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry found that British soldiers had been responsible for the massacre of 14 civil rights demonstrators in Derry in 1972. However, no prosecutions resulted and British military and government officials were able to evade blame for the killings.

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