Go-ahead for Finucane inquiry

Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries

An inquiry is to be set up into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, the British Government has said.

It said a tribunal would be tasked with uncovering the full facts of what happened in north Belfast in 1989 and would be given all of the powers and resources to fulfil that task.

The government said because of the requirements of national security it would be necessary to hold the inquiry on the basis of new legislation to be introduced shortly.

The killing was one of the most controversial of the 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, mainly because of the allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and members of the security forces.

Mr Finucane, 39, was shot dead in front of his family at his home by the loyalist Ulster Defence Association.

Details of an inquiry into his murder were given by Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy in London on Thursday.

He said the government was determined that where there were allegations of collusion, "the truth should emerge".

He pointed out that the government had delayed making any announcement on any inquiry, until criminal proceedings had been completed.

Mr Murphy added: "The government has taken into account the exceptional concerns about this case.

"Against that background, the government has concluded that steps should now be taken to enable the establishment of an inquiry into the death of Pat Finucane."

Loyalist sentenced

The secretary of state said that it was possible that further prosecutions might result from the Steven's investigation into the murder.

Mr Finucane's brother Martin said: "We have just received a letter and statement from Paul Murphy.

"The family will now consult and consider the detail of his response and will make a statement shortly."

In the past few days, concerns had been expressed by those pressing for the inquiry that there would be an attempt to hold part of it in private.

Loyalist Ken Barrett, 41, was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court to life for the 1989 murder last week.

Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish Governments to examine allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane and other controversial killings.

He recommended a public inquiry into Mr Finucane's death.

Ken Barrett admitted the murder of Mr Finucane in the kitchen of his family home in north Belfast in February 1989.

However, he could be freed within months under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He was the first person to be charged with the solicitor's murder.

The Finucane family said they were not particularly interested in convictions, and that Barrett's guilty plea served to conceal the truth that could only emerge at a public inquiry.

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