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Friday 23 March 2018

Finucane family slams inquiry delay reporters

The family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has accused the British government of stalling on a decision to hold a public inquiry into one of the most infamous killings of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The murdered lawyer's widow, Geraldine Finucane, said Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson had earlier this year promised he was close to a decision on the case, but she said the issue had been delayed without proper explanation.

The British army, police and intelligence service have been implicated in the 1989 murder, which was carried out by loyalist paramilitaries who included security force agents among their ranks.

In a surprise move it emerged in January that Mr Paterson had initiated talks with the bereaved family in a bid to bring closure to the long-running case.

But Mrs Finucane said: "The Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, told me in March this year that he would make his decision after the Northern Ireland Assembly elections [in May] as he was in the final stages of taking that decision."

She said she was disappointed by his handling of the issue and accused Mr Paterson of failing to keep "his promise".

The Secretary of State, however, has repeatedly said he wants to work closely with the family as he charts the way forward.

But Mrs Finucane said: "I am also very unhappy that no reason has been provided to me for this delay.

"Neither correspondence nor contact has been made to the family's legal representative or me informing us that the decision has been put back and will be dealt with after the House of Commons recess.

"It is an untenable and insensitive situation and confirms my belief that the policy of delay continues."

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