Varadkar: British Government should ‘honour commitment’ to Finucane inquiry

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has urged the Britsh Government to “honour its commitment” to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in February 1989 by loyalists in an attack judged by an official report to have involved collusion with the UK state.

The Supreme Court in London ruled on Wednesday that there had been no “effective investigation” into Mr Finucane’s murder and previous inquiries had not complied with the Finucane family’s human rights.

Following the judgment, Mr Varadkar said holding a full inquiry into the killing – one of the most notorious of the Troubles – is “the right thing to do, and the honourable thing to do”.

He added that he would “certainly be raising it in my meetings” with Prime Minister Theresa May.

During Leader’s Questions on Wednesday, the Taoiseach was asked by Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald whether he would press the UK Government to uphold “one of the many broken commitments of the peace process”.

Mr Varadkar responded: “The position of the Irish Government is that the British Government should now honour its commitment to now carry out a public inquiry, in accordance with the Inquiries Act, into the murder of Pat Finucane.

“I will be pressing my counterpart Theresa May to honour the commitment made by her forebear.”

An official statement from the Taoiseach’s office said “an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane should be established, in line with the political commitments made by the British and Irish governments at Weston Park in 2001”.

Mrs May’s official spokesman said after the ruling: “We recognise the suffering of Mrs Finucane caused by the appalling murder of her husband.

“In 2012, the then prime minister apologised for the collusion which took place and which should never have happened.

“In relation to the Supreme Court, we are considering that judgment. We will consider it in detail before determining our next steps.”

The spokesman added that the judgment “makes it clear that it is for the state to decide what form of investigation, if indeed any is now feasible, is required in order to meet the investigative requirements”.

Ms McDonald called the judgment a watershed moment in the campaign for truth and justice.

“The withholding of information on the part of the British Government and the disregard shown to victims in the courts is a feature of many other cases also – this must stop,” she said.

“At Weston Park in 2001, the British Government agreed to a public inquiry into Pat’s murder. That has not yet happened.

“The British Government should now immediately fulfil its obligation to hold a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.”

In its judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that Mrs Finucane had been given “an unequivocal undertaking” that there would be a public inquiry into her husband’s murder, but also found that the UK Government was justified in later deciding against holding one.

Speaking outside the court, Mrs Finucane said: “This is a historic moment. I stand before you today outside the United Kingdom Supreme Court with one simple message: we won.

“The British Government now knows that it cannot conceal the truth any longer. They have now been told this by the highest court in the land.

“It is time for the murder of Pat Finucane to be properly and publicly investigated in a public inquiry. Nothing less will suffice.”

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