Finucane family welcomes Irish Government commitment to call for inquiry

The Finucane family have been told the Irish Government will continue to put pressure on the UK Government to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine and son John met Taoiseach Micheal Martin at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday.

It was the first time the Fianna Fail leader met the family since he became Taoiseach.

Remembrance Sunday
Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

North Belfast MP John Finucane said Mr Martin had “committed” to engaging with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in advance of the court deadline of November 30 for the British Government to respond to a Supreme Court ruling made last year.

Pat Finucane, 39, was shot by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his family in 1989 amid claims of collusion with state security forces.

In February last year, the Supreme Court ruled that investigations into the fatal shooting of the solicitor have not been effective and fell short of international human rights standards.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has indicated that a decision over how the Government will proceed will be announced.

John Finucane said: “The Irish Government’s position, his position (the Taoiseach’s) is very clear, that there needs to be a strong response to the Supreme Court victory of last year. That response needs to be a public inquiry.

“The Taoiseach was completely unambiguous. He fully supports our family, our campaign for a full inquiry and we thank him and we’re very grateful for that.”

He added: “There’s no doubt in our minds that he understands not just the issues in our case, but the significance that it represents, the importance of having an inquiry, of finally dealing with this campaign, which has been going on too long – we’ve been fighting for an inquiry for 31 years,” he said.

Mr Finucane also said Mr Martin had paid tribute to his mother, Geraldine, for her perseverance throughout the many years of their campaign.

Mrs Finucane said: “It means a great deal that the Irish Government are continuing to strongly back our call for an inquiry.

“He has obviously supported us for a long time, long before he became Taoiseach and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all he’s about to do. I just hope it pays dividends.”

She added that it was important not only to the Finucane family but to all families who had suffered a loss in the Troubles.

On Sunday, it emerged that four of Northern Ireland’s political parties have united to call for a public inquiry into the murder of Mr Finucane.

Four of Northern Ireland’s six largest parties wrote a joint letter to Mr Lewis urging a public inquiry.

The letter – signed by senior members of Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Alliance and Green Party – emphasises that establishing the full facts around the killing is a matter of “the utmost public interest” and that “only a public inquiry can now assist the Finucane family to get the truth about the scope and extent of state collusion into Pat’s killing”.

The letter went onto say that holding a public inquiry would provide the British government with an opportunity to restore wider confidence in the rule of law and the administration of justice.

The letter is signed by Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry and Green Party leader Clare Bailey.

Sinn Fein MP John Finucane recently wrote to every member of parliament asking for their support for the family’s cause.

In his letter he contended that “only a public inquiry can assist in ascertaining the true extent and scope of British state collusion in the killing of my father”, adding that it was a matter of public interest not just in Ireland but internationally too.

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