Irish Examiner

26/11/2004 - 7:34:20 PM

Finucane family threatens to snub inquiry

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane tonight ruled out taking part in the British government’s inquiry into his controversial killing if legislation setting it up remained the same.

Following the publication of a proposed bill setting up the tribunal, the family expressed deep concern that it would not have the full power to compel witnesses and documents.

The British government has insisted the legislation is needed to enable the inquiry to go ahead because it will deal with sensitive matters of national security.

When the legislation is passed, judges will be asked to probe allegations that members of British army intelligence and the Royal Ulster Constabulary colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of Mr Finucane in his North Belfast home in February 1989.

Loyalist Ken Barrett was given a life sentence in September after he admitted his role in the attack which was claimed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

That conviction paved the way for Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to announce an inquiry.

However the Finucanes, nationalist politicians and human rights campaigners have been disturbed by suggestions that the inquiry will require new legislation and that much of its proceedings will have to held behind closed doors because of sensitive matters of national security.

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