British Government declines to open public inquiry into murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane
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British Government declines to open public inquiry into murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane

THE BRITISH Government has declined to open a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane by loyalist paramilitaries.

Patrick Finucane, a Belfast solicitor who had challenged the government in human rights cases throughout the 1980's, was murdered on 21 March 1989 in his own home as he sat eating a meal with his wife and three children.

He was shot 14 times by members of the Ulster Defence Association, who were acting in collusion with the British Government, an act admitted by then-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011.

Mr Cameron apologised to the family of Mr Finucane, and the British Government had agreed to hold a public inquiry should collusion be proven, but this has yet to happen.

In 2019, the British Supreme Court ruled that the UK had failed to hold an effective investigation into his murder, but Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis yesterday told MPs they would not be opening an inquiry "at this stage".

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The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) will instead review the case "in accordance with the priorities set out in their case sequencing model" in early 2021, Mr Lewis told fellow MPs.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis

"The UK Government, rightly, has no role whatsoever in determining how or when the police deal with their outstanding legacy caseload," he added.

"However, the fact a decision on a police review is due shortly is an important development and was a factor in determining the next steps in this case. Critically, a review would consider whether further investigative steps could be taken in this case and whether the PSNI should do so."

Pat Finucane's son John, now a Sinn Féin MP for North Belfast, said the decision was "nothing short of insulting".

He released a statement on behalf of his mother and Pat's widow, Geraldine Finucane, who said:

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"Today the British Government has declined to hold a public inquiry into the murder of my husband, Pat Finucane. Instead, the Secretary of State proposes to leave the case in the hands of the PSNI and the NI Police Ombudsman for further investigation.

"This proposal falls so far short of what is required in this case that it beggars belief. It makes a mockery of the decision by the UK Supreme Court and the forthright comments of Belfast High Court.

"It is yet another insult added to a deep and lasting injury."

She said the suggestion that the family should engage with local police to address a case "that involves proven collusion by the British State in the murder of a solicitor"  is "a farcical proposal".

"There is only one reason to ask the local police to investigate a case that involves the British Army, the Security Services and former members of government: that reason is to ensure they will be untouchable," Mrs Finucane continued.

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"They have again shown that they have no intention in admitting their role in the conflict here. Colluding with killers did not just result in my husband's murder, but many others.

Geraldine Finucane, widow of Pat, has been calling for a public inquiry into his death for several years. Picture: Photocall Ireland

"The extent and depth of this political policy is what the British government fear being exposed."

Mrs Finucane thanked everyone who have supported their family and confirmed they will "continue to campaign for a full public inquiry".

"The questions that demand answers around Pat's murder are not going away and neither is our campaign for truth and justice."