SDLP, Sinn Féin seek public inquiry

 

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have supported a call from the Finucane family for a full independent inquiry to be held into the death of Pat Finucane.

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said the de Silva report made clear that there was state collusion in the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor and that an international independent inquiry was "the only means of establishing the truth" about what happened.

“The Finucane case demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive truth and reconciliation process on these islands, one which is fiercely committed to establishing the truth about the past," he said.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams TD, who Sir Desmond de Silva uncovered a plot to attack during his inquiry, accused British prime minister David Cameron of using the review as a pretext for reneging on the 2001 Weston Park commitment by the then British government to hold a public inquiry.

“The de Silva review into the killing of Pat Finucane in February 1989 concludes that there was collusion by British state agencies...everyone already knew this," he said.  “The information provided by Desmond de Silva is a damning indictment of British state collusion in the murder of citizens. It does not diminish the need for a public inquiry...it makes such an inquiry more necessary than ever.”

The Ulster Unionist Party thanked Sir Desmond for "his commitment to bring closure to the many investigations into the murder of Patrick Finucane" and said it hoped the Finucane family would take comfort from the publication.

Echoing the words of Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the Republic last year, the UUP said "with the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all".

The UUP said the report highlighted that there was no overarching state conspiracy in the murder of Mr Finucane, and that hundreds of families of police officers and soldiers killed in the Troubles continued to suffer the same pain as the Finucanes, but without the support of public inquiries.

"His report was looking at the actions of the state and its agents as well as loyalists, but he points out that PIRA was the single greatest source of violence during the period and an holistic account of the time would reveal the full calculating brutality of that terrorist group," the UUP said.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said all murders carried out during the Troubles were wrong but that it appeared there was a "greater desire to uncover the truth" surrounding some cases more than others.

"With so many unsolved IRA murders - into which there have been no expensive reports - the families of many victims have come to believe that there is a hierarchy of victims in Northern Ireland," he said.

The Committee on the Administration of Justice said the de Silva report catalogued many crimes "but he doesn’t tell us who committed them".