Taoiseach's statement on de Silva report


Statement by Taoiseach Enda Kenny  following publication of the De Silva Report into the murder of Pat Finucane

Twenty three years ago, Pat Finucane was brutally murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife Geraldine and his three children Michael, Catherine and John.

Since then, Geraldine has campaigned tirelessly for the truth about her husband’s murder. Along the way she has had to endure the frustration of knowing that evidence was destroyed, justice obstructed and her husband’s reputation impugned.

Officials from the Irish Embassy assisted Geraldine Finucane and her family in London today as they prepared for publication of the De Silva review and prime minister Cameron’s statement at Westminster.

The De Silva report, and prime minister Cameron’s statement today, acknowledge the shocking extent of state collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane and the efforts to subvert and frustrate subsequent investigations into that murder.

I accept that the prime minister has shown determination to get to the truth behind what happened in this case, and that the De Silva report includes a substantial amount of previously undisclosed documentation.

I also welcome David Cameron’s clear condemnation of the nature and scale of collusion, and his firm public apology to Geraldine Finucane and her family for all they have endured.

I note that the prime minister has indicated that various authorities in Britain and in Northern Ireland are expected to consider the report.

The murder of Pat Finucane was one of a number of cases which gave rise to allegations of collusion by the security forces. The British and Irish governments agreed in 2001 to appoint a judge of international standing to investigate these cases and, in the event that a Public Inquiry was recommended in any case, to implement that recommendation.

Judge Peter Cory recommended a public inquiry in five cases. On foot of his recommendation, the Smithwick Tribunal was established by resolutions of Dáil and Seanad Eireann in 2005. The Smithwick Tribunal is currently concluding its work.

It is a matter of public record that the Irish Government disagrees strongly with the decision by the British government last year not to conduct a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

The Government’s position has consistently been in accordance with the all-party motion adopted in the Dáil in 2006 which called for a full, independent, public enquiry, as recommended by Judge Cory. That position is unchanged.

We have also consistently supported the Finucane family in their efforts to ascertain the full extent of collusion behind Pat Finucane’s murder and the subsequent investigations.

I spoke with prime minister Cameron this morning before his statement to the House of Commons, and repeated these points to him once again. I have also spoken today with Geraldine Finucane and I know that the family are not satisfied with today’s outcome.

I intend to reflect carefully over the coming days on the detailed content of the De Silva report, and indeed previous reports, as well as the prime minister’s statement today. I also intend to consult further with the Finucane family to hear their views and concerns in more detail.

I want to make clear once again that I do not subscribe to the notion of a hierarchy of victims. During the Northern Ireland troubles, thousands were murdered and maimed. Each tragic case left behind devastated family members, friends and colleagues.

I have, in recent months, met with some of the victims and relatives of such horrific tragedies. I will meet others in the months ahead. I have heard, and will continue to hear, first-hand, their pain, their loss and their concerns.

More generally, all these cases serve as a reminder of a darker time in Northern Ireland, a time that no right-thinking person wants to see return.

Confidence is fundamental to the Northern Ireland peace process. As we have seen in recent days, significant challenges have yet to be tackled. We can only tackle these successfully when we do so together.

Close partnership between the British and Irish Governments throughout the process has been - and remains - critical to sustaining that confidence.

Prime minister Cameron and I have agreed to discuss these matters, regardless of our differences on the Finucane case, with a view to redoubling our commitment to work together to support and develop peace in Northern Ireland in the weeks and months ahead.