Government 'disappointed' with UK over lack of Finucane inquiry


THERE WERE occasions when “frank disagreements” occurred between states and the Government was “disappointed” with the British stance on the case of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, according to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore.

Mr Gilmore made his comments following a meeting yesterday with members of the Finucane family.

A previous meeting at Downing Street last Tuesday between the Finucanes and the British prime minister ended abruptly when Mr Cameron said he was ordering a review into the case, rather than the public inquiry the family is demanding. Mr Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in February 1989.

Speaking after yesterday’s talks, Mr Gilmore said: “What I asked the family to do was to have their legal representatives meet with officials of my department to put together the detail of the contacts that have taken place over the past number of months which led to last Tuesday’s meeting.

“That will form the basis of the formal response which the Irish Government will give to the British government.”

He added: “There are sometimes occasions when frank disagreements arise between states. This is one, on this occasion.”

He said the Government was “disappointed at what happened last Tuesday, we have already communicated that to our counterparts in the British government, and we will do so now on a more formal basis”.

Geraldine Finucane, widow of Mr Finucane said: “We had a very positive meeting with the Tánaiste and, in fact, he started off by saying it was a dark day for the family, a dark day for the country and a dark day for the rule of law.

“He has pledged continuing support from the Irish Government and I do believe that the Government are as upset about what happened on Tuesday as the family are.”

She was disappointed the Taoiseach could not meet the family yesterday but she had met Mr Kenny before, “and he has always pledged his full support”.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said later it was “purely an availability issue” that Mr Kenny was unable to meet the Finucanes.

Michael Finucane, solicitor and a son of Pat Finucane, said: “It was made clear that the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach made immediate contact with their counterparts in the British government after our meeting with David Cameron and both were unequivocal in their concern and expressing it to the British government.

“They are deeply unhappy about what has happened, not only because of what it has done to the family but also because of the significant diplomatic incident that it creates between the Irish and British governments.”