Failure to order inquiry on Finucane killing ‘cruel’: Amnesty

Full truth behind murder yet to emerge, says late Northern Ireland solicitor’s son

Geraldine Finucane (centre), wife of late Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane,  and her two sons Michael (right), and John Finucane (left), holding a press conference in Westminster  after hearing the report by Sir Desmond de Silva QC into her husband’s murder  in 1989. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Geraldine Finucane (centre), wife of late Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, and her two sons Michael (right), and John Finucane (left), holding a press conference in Westminster after hearing the report by Sir Desmond de Silva QC into her husband’s murder in 1989. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Wed, Feb 12, 2014, 12:53

Amnesty has described the British government’s refusal to hold an independent inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane 25 years ago as “not only cruel, but positively sinister”.

Mr Finucane was gunned down at his north Belfast home in front of his wife and children by a UDA gang on February 12th, 1989. Mr Finucane, a prominent criminal defence and civil rights lawyer who had represented high profile IRA figures including hunger striker Bobby Sands, was shot 14 times.

In December 2012 an official British government review carried out by Sir Desmond de Silva QC judged that he might still be alive but for the actions of British state agencies such as the RUC, the British army and MI5.

He found there was no “overarching” British state conspiracy to murder Mr Finucane, but that a “series of positive actions by employees of the state actively furthered and facilitated his murder and that in the aftermath of the murder there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice”.

British prime minister David Cameron, in issuing a second apology to the Finucane family at the time, said the “shocking levels of collusion” exposed by the report were “unacceptable”.

Mr Finucane’s wife Geraldine described the report as a “sham” and again called for an independent public inquiry into the killing, a call supported by Patrick Corrigan, the Amnesty International programme director for Northern Ireland.

“The continued refusal to air this case in public and get at the truth of allegations is not only cruel, but positively sinister. By anyone’s definition, this was a murder with collusion written all over it,” he said when marking today’s 25th anniversary of the killing.

“It is vital for public confidence that this anniversary prompts a rethink over denying the Finucane family an independent public inquiry,” he added.

Mr Finucane’s son, John, also a lawyer, said while “so much is now known that was previously hidden, it is clear that the full truth and circumstances surrounding my father’s murder have yet to be revealed”.

“The past remains a divisive and caustic issue in our society today. The British government have added to this deep sense of mistrust when they continue to renege on their promise to enact a full public inquiry into his killing,” he added.

“We continue to feel the deep personal loss even after 25 years, yet we remain convinced the best way to honour what my father stood for in life, and in death, is to continue our campaign for truth and justice,” said Mr Finucane.

Amnesty added that the British government’s failure to establish an inquiry into Mr Finucane’s killing was symptomatic “of a wider failure to effectively address the past in Northern Ireland and ensure accountability for the human rights violations and abuses committed by all sides during three decades of violence”.