Relatives of murdered human rights solicitor Pat Finucane met with British prime minister David Cameron yesterday [October 11], who rejected holding a public inquiry into the killing as recommended in the 2004 Cory Report. Below we carry statements from the Finucane family and from the Pat Finucane Centre [PFC] responding to this latest development...
Finucane family statement
The Finucane family met the British Prime Minister David Cameron and NI Secretary Owen Paterson at 10 Downing Street today to hear the Government’s decision on an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane in Belfast in 1989. The family was asked to come to Downing Street by the Prime Minister following a re-appraisal of the case in order to assess whether holding an inquiry remained in the public interest.
Speaking after the meeting, Geraldine Finucane said:
“My family and I were invited to Downing Street by the Prime Minister to hear the decision of the Government about holding a public inquiry into the murder of my husband, Pat Finucane. I have been to meetings in 10 Downing Street before but this is the first time I have been invited by a Prime Minster. I was hopeful and optimistic about today’s meeting. I thought David Cameron intended to show courage and leadership on this issue. I thought he would confirm that his Government would establish a public inquiry. I dared to believe we might finally get the inquiry recommended by Judge Peter Cory in 2004.
I now know that courage and leadership on the issue of Pat’s murder remains absent. The Prime Minister said he did not intend to hold a public inquiry. Instead, he proposed a review of the case by a senior QC selected by the British Government.
After 23 years of campaigning, 23 years of questions, 23 years of travelling the world gathering support for a public inquiry into Pat’s murder, the offer of a ‘review of the papers’ is nothing less than an insult. My family and I were lured to Downing Street under false pretences. We thought we were going to be given the inquiry that was promised. Instead, the Government intends to do even less in Pat’s case than in the other cases that were part of the Cory process.
My family will not be allowed to participate in this review. We will not be permitted to question witnesses. We will not be given copies of documents. In short, we are being asked to accept the result of a process from which we are completely excluded. We are being asked to trust the British Government. We were told that we should accept Mr. Cameron’s assurance that this ‘review of the papers’ will get to the truth.
After 23 years, my family and I are beyond taking any British Prime Minister’s word for anything. We have no hesitation in rejecting this sham proposal and will not be participating in it under any circumstances. It is a shoddy, half-hearted alternative to a proper public inquiry. It is not what we have sought for the last 23 years. It represents yet another broken promise by the British Government who still fear a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and cannot bring themselves to uncover or confront the truth.”
PFC Response to Finucane meeting with Prime Minister
Reacting to the outcome of the meeting this afternoon with British Prime Minister David Cameron the PFC shares the shock and concern of the Finucane family at the news that no Public Inquiry is to be held into the 1989 murder.
“The family have campaigned long and hard for an inquiry into the murder of Pat. They were told that a Public Inquiry would be set up by the British Government. The Irish Government was told that a Public Inquiry would be set up.
Instead the PM has told the family that a QC, Sir Desmond da Silva, will be asked to ‘review’ the available papers and then brief the family. This is an extraordinary turnaround which we find incomprehensible and unacceptable. We understand that the family will not cooperate in any shape or fashion with this ‘review’.
At the meeting they were told that this was the “best way forward”. This may be true for the security forces and agencies who wish to conceal the truth. It is certainly not the best way forward for the family.
It was claimed that witnesses are not ‘available’ and that this would negate the effectiveness of any inquiry. This is a shabby and scandalous excuse.
It is absolutely vital that any inquiry be allowed to delve into the involvement of the British Army Force Research Unit, RUC Special Branch and the Security Service MI5 in the murder. Britain is failing to honour the commitment it made at Weston Park to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory, the Canadian judge appointed by the two governments to evaluate the evidence in a number of contentious cases. He recommended a Public Inquiry into the murder.
Pat Finucane received death threats from members of the RUC. Using parliamentary privilege only weeks before the murder a Conservative Government minister accused members of the legal profession of being close to the IRA thus setting the scene for loyalist attacks on lawyers. Both RUC and FRU agents were involved in the murder of Pat Finucane. On February 12 1989 Pat was murdered in front of his family.
Those who would argue that the above facts are a not a matter for Public Inquiry should consider the words of Geraldine Finucane,
“I believe that it is a mistake to ignore cases of serious concern just because they are in the past. I believe the only way our society can move forward into a peaceful future is by examining the controversies of our past and exposing them fully for all to see. I believe this creates foundations of confidence, upon which a lasting peace can be built.”