Rabbitte urges pressure on Britain over Finucane vow

25 September 2004
By Gary Kelly

THE Government was last night urged to ensure the British Government keeps its promise to hold a public inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.
Labour Party leader Pat Rabitte criticised the British Government’s insistence that much of the probe into the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor would be held in private.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy, announcing the inquiry, said this was necessary in the interests of national security.

Mr Rabitte described the hostile reaction from the Finucane family and nationalists as understandable.

He added that the Irish Government had a commitment to a public inquiry.

“I expect that our Government will behave honourably in this regard rather than permit the British Government to resile from its solemn commitments, by bringing in alternative, watered down legislation,” Mr Rabitte said.

Sinn Féin’s Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness, who met with the Finucane family yesterday, said there were serious concerns about the British Government’s approach to the demand for a full, independent judicial public inquiry.

“There has been a long history of concealment and cover-up by successive British governments about the activities of their agents in the north of Ireland,” he said. “It is vital that the terms of reference for this inquiry are published immediately in order to address the full concerns of the Finucane family.”

Mr Finucane was shot dead by members of the loyalist UDA in front of his family in February 1989.

An investigation headed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Stevens found evidence that members of British army intelligence and the Royal Ulster Constabulary colluded in the murder.

The director of Amnesty International’s Irish section, Sean Love, said: “We strongly suspect that the UK authorities are using ‘national security’ to curtail the inquiry’s ability to shed light on state collusion in the killing and on allegations that his killing was the result of an official policy.”

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