Public inquiry into Finucane murder is ‘inevitable’ –Taoiseach

Martin says there has been effort ‘to undermine any progress to get to truth’

Pat Finucane was shot dead in his north Belfast home in 1989 by the UDA. File photograph: Pacemaker

Pat Finucane was shot dead in his north Belfast home in 1989 by the UDA. File photograph: Pacemaker

 

There has been an effort “consistently to undermine any progress to get to the truth” of the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989, the Taoiseach has said.

Describing the British government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into his death as “arrogant” and “cruel” Micheál Martin said that “some dark secrets have been hidden and it’s time they were revealed”.

He also said that in his view it was “inevitable” that a public inquiry would have to be held at some stage into the killing, to restore confidence and help reconciliation.

The Taoiseach was responding to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald who hit out at the announcement on Monday by the Northern Ireland secretary to rule out a public inquiry.

She described the British decision as “more bluff and more delay” and “another confidence trick”.

Mr Finucane was shot dead in his north Belfast home in 1989 by the UDA in an attack which involved collusion by the British state.

Ms McDonald said the decision to leave the case in the hands of the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman was a “ludicrous proposal”. She said it flew in the face of a British supreme court judgment last year that the State had not carried out an effective inquiry.

The Dublin Central TD said the British state and its agents were directly involved in the killing of Mr Finucane, and its planning.

She claimed the only reason Britain was refusing to hold an inquiry “is to continue with the cover up and to ensure that those agents of the British state responsible are never held to account”.

The Taoiseach said the decision to revert back to the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman was “disingenuous”.

Public trust

The Finucane family has campaigned for the past 31 years for a public inquiry and Mr Martin said he spoke to Mr Finucane’s widow, Geraldine Finucane on Tuesday morning “to make it clear that the Irish Government will continue to work with them to keep the pressure on to ensure a public inquiry is held”.

He noted the “significant” comments of the PSNI Chief Constable that there are no new lines of inquiry and any review to be held was not an investigation which would need to be independently led.

Mr Martin pointed to comments by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who he said was very clear that it was his understanding that an inquiry into Mr Finucane’s murder would follow after the Irish Government “fulfilled its side of the deal that was then reached at Weston Park” in 2001 by establishing the Smithwick inquiry into the murder of two senior RUC officers.

“It seems to me that there’s an effort here has been consistently to undermine any progress towards the truth regarding this and some dark secrets are being hidden. And it’s time that they were revealed in the proper forum of a public inquiry.”

“This delay only corrodes public trust generally in the British state’s capacity to deal with issues that we committed to dealing with, and proper relationships between two governments, two states, must be founded on the principle that where agreements are entered into they must by followed through.”