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Setback British Government not ordering public inquiry into murder of Pat Finucane

Police Service of Northern Ireland and Police Ombudsman investigations into the solicitor’s 1989 loyalist paramilitary shooting are to go ahead.


Pat Finucane (PA)

Pat Finucane (PA)

Pat Finucane (PA)

The British Government has decided not to order an immediate public inquiry into north Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane’s murder.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Police Ombudsman investigations into the 1989 loyalist paramilitary shooting are to go ahead.

Mr Finucane, a 39-year-old solicitor who represented republican and loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles, was shot dead in his family home in north Belfast in February 1989 by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in an attack found to have involved collusion with the state.

Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine and the couple’s three children have been campaigning for decades for a public inquiry to establish the extent of security force involvement.


Geraldine Finucane (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Geraldine Finucane (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Geraldine Finucane (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Last year, the Supreme Court said all previous examinations of the death had not been compliant with human rights standards.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he met the Finucane family on Monday.

“I advised them of my decision not to establish a public inquiry at this time,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney expressed the Irish Government's disappointment with the decision.

He said “It has been the strong and consistent position of the Irish Government that only a full and independent public inquiry, as provided for under the Weston Park agreement in 2001, would provide a satisfactory outcome to this case.

"We are disappointed that the opportunity was not taken today to establish such an inquiry without further delay.

"However, we note that the Secretary of State has not ruled out the holding of such an inquiry."

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Mr Coveney added: "In a case like this, in which Prime Minister [David] Cameron acknowledged that there were ‘shocking levels of collusion’, there is an undeniable onus on the state to do everything possible to restore public confidence through a process that fully meets relevant international standards and obligations of effectiveness, independence and transparency."

He said he has told Mr Lewis of the Government's disappointment and "made it clear" it remains the Irish position that "only through a full and independent public inquiry will a satisfactory resolution to this case be found."

Mr Coveney said: "We will study the detail of the announcement by the Secretary of State in full.

"We will also ask to meet again with the Finucane family to hear their perspective and concerns. We will then be engaging further with the UK Government on this case.”

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