Tuesday 23 January 2018

Widow of murdered NI solicitor Pat Finucane ‘insulted’ by review of case

Daniel Bentley

THE WIDOW of murdered Northern Ireland solicitor Pat Finucane said today she felt "angry" and "insulted" after David Cameron told her he was proposing a QC-led review of her husband's case.

After meeting the Prime Minister in Number 10, Geraldine Finucane told reporters the whole family was "very disappointed" and would not support the initiative.

The Finucanes want a full independent inquiry into the loyalist shooting in 1989. There have been persistent claims of security force collusion with the killers.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mrs Finucane said: "I am so angry and so insulted by being brought to Downing Street today to hear what the Prime Minister had on offer.

"He is offering a review. He wants a QC to read the papers in my husband's case and that is how he expects to reach the truth.

"All of us are very upset and very disappointed."

She added that she was "so angry with the Prime Minister that I actually called a halt to the meeting".

Mrs Finucane said she could not understand how "yet another review of papers" could be justified.

"The family will not be involved at all. The QC will tell us everything and we are to accept that as a means of getting to the truth."

Mr Finucane was 39 when he was shot 14 times by Ulster Defence Association paramilitaries at his Belfast home.

Tony Blair promised the family that the allegations would be investigated but no inquiry was set up.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, asked by the British and Irish governments to examine allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane and other controversial killings, recommended a public inquiry into the death.

Mr Finucane's son, Michael, who also attended today's meeting with Mr Cameron and Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, accused the Prime Minister of "reneging on a commitment that the previous government made to hold a public inquiry".

The Prime Minister gave the "feeble" explanation that public inquiries had not worked in similar cases, Mr Finucane said.

"He seemed oblivious to the fact that the absence of participation by our family would mean we simply couldn't support what he proposed," he added.

"We came here and had a so-called solution presented to us as a fait accompli."

Downing Street said Mr Cameron told the Finucanes that investigations by Judge Cory and John Stevens, then deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police, demonstrated there had been state collusion in the murder.

"The Prime Minister expressed his profound sympathy for the family and said it was clear from Stevens and Cory that state collusion had taken place in Mr Finucane's murder," a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

"He accepted these conclusions and on behalf of the Government he apologised to the family.

"He confirmed that the Government's priority was to get to the truth in the best and most effective way.

"The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will set out the details of this process shortly."

The Pat Finucane Centre campaign group said: "It is absolutely vital that any inquiry be allowed to delve into the involvement of the British Army Force Research Unit, RUC Special Branch and the security service MI5 in the murder.

"Britain is failing to honour the commitment it made at Weston Park to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory, the Canadian judge appointed by the two governments to evaluate the evidence in a number of contentious cases."

The Committee on the Administration of Justice said it had been campaigning for an inquiry for 22 years.

A spokesman said: "It is with shock and grave disappointment that we receive today's news."

Ulster Unionist Party victims spokesman Mike Nesbitt said: "I accept the family are left deeply frustrated by today's decision, but it was right to reach a decision and stop the costly impasse.

"It is also time to call time out on the incomplete, imperfect and imbalanced series of initiatives that we currently deploy to deal with our past.

"What we need is an agreed mechanism, rather than a series of processes that serve to re-write history, painting the state and the agents of the state as the villains."

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