Four North parties demand public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s murder

Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and the Greens unite for joint letter to British government

Undated handout file photo of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. File photograph: PA/PA Wire

Undated handout file photo of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. File photograph: PA/PA Wire


Four of the North’s six largest political parties have written a joint letter to the British government demanding a public inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.

Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance and the Greens united to tell Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis in the letter that an inquiry would “restore wider confidence in the rule of law and the administration of justice”.

“Thirty years on, it remains a matter of the utmost public interest that questions remain unanswered about who ordered the killing, about who knew what, and when,” the joint letter states.

“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.”

Mr Finucane (39) was shot by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his family in north Belfast in 1989. Claims subsequently emerged that the killing involved collusion with state security forces.

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

Mr Lewis has previously indicated that a decision on whether to order a public inquiry will be made by the end of November.

In the letter to Mr Lewis – signed by Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry and leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland Clare Bailey – the parties said that how the British government responds to the supreme court ruling is a “matter of public interest”.

Labour intervention

Last month, Britain’s Labour Party urged British prime minister Boris Johnson to “act without delay” and order a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, Mr Finucane’s son John, a Sinn Féin MP for Belfast North, has written to all Westminster MPs asking for their support for such an inquiry.

Only a public inquiry can “assist in ascertaining the true extent and scope of British state collusion in the killing of my father”, he wrote.

“It is a matter of public interest, not just in Ireland, but in Britain and internationally too, that answers are provided to the questions around the full circumstances which led to the deliberate targeting and murder of a human rights solicitor and subsequent cover-up.”