UK government believed Pat Finucane was 'expendable'
Published 17/10/2011 | 14:23
The British state thought that Pat Finucane was expendable, the Northern Ireland assembly has heard.
The dead lawyer's family deserves the truth after promises of a public inquiry were not kept, Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said.
The British government's handling of the case was debated in the assembly today.
Mr Kelly said: "The state thought that Pat Finucane was expendable. This issue, in my opinion, should unite victims we represent right across the assembly.
"The family deserves the truth and, frankly, so do we all."
Mr Finucane was shot dead by loyalists in his north Belfast home in 1989.
Last Tuesday, Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine walked out of a meeting with the Prime Minister after he told her that senior lawyer and internationally-recognised expert in post-conflict situations in Serbia and Sierra Leone Sir Desmond De Silva would hold a review of the case.
Paul Givan, of the DUP, sympathised with the Finucane family but said another open-ended public inquiry could not be afforded.
"There is a very clear concern from this side of the house that public inquiries have been used to wage a vendetta against the RUC, as opposed to seeking to establish closure for the family," he said.
"What is important is that we do not elevate certain crimes above others."
Mike Nesbitt, of the UUP, said he was sorry the Finucane family did not listen to what was being offered.
"Clearly it is more than a paper exercise," he said.
Alban Maginness, of SDLP, said the state needed to come clean.
"It is time for the British Government to live up to its responsibilities. In this case it is clear that there was collusion," he said.
"The extent and the nature of that collusion must be exposed. It cannot be exposed by simply reviewing the papers. It must be exposed by an independent inquiry that has a right to call witnesses. By calling witnesses, we can get to the kernel of the extent and nature of collusion."