Pat Finucane’s family rejects 'political trade-off'

Murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane’s family today urged nationalist politicians and the Irish Government against ‘‘shirking their responsibility’’ in securing a public inquiry into the killing.

Murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane’s family today urged nationalist politicians and the Irish Government against ‘‘shirking their responsibility’’ in securing a public inquiry into the killing.

Martin Finucane called on the SDLP and Sinn Fein to reject a deal of extra powers to scrutinise the RUC in return for accepting new policing arrangements.

Insisting a full probe into allegations of security force collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in his brother’s murder must take place, Mr Finucane declared:

‘‘Our demand should not be conditional on any changes to policing.’’

He added: ‘‘We welcome warmly the support of the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Irish Government in supporting us and calling for an inquiry, but we wish to stress that any attempt to shirk their responsibility in the murder of Pat Finucane by using it as a bargaining lever should be rejected and derided for the cynical ploy it really is.

‘‘This family does not consider that an issue such as the state-sponsored murder of any person should be allowed to be used as a political trade-off with the British Government.’’

Pat Finucane was gunned down in front of his family by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in 1989.

Allegations that security forces knew of the loyalist grouping’s plans to assassinate the Catholic lawyer but failed to act have prompted nationalist demands for a public judicial inquiry.

So far one man has been charged in connection with the killing.

Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have insisted on such a probe into Mr Finucane’s murder, along with Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson and Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill, as part of the policing reforms.

But Martin Finucane stressed that political talks aimed at breaking the deadlocked peace process should not see these demands distilled.

His concerns focused on reports that Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan could be granted extra powers to re-investigate the three killings in return for the nationalist parties supporting the new policing arrangements.

Mr Finucane claimed the cases had been deliberately dragged into the negotiations around policing because of the Government’s failure to implement former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten’s review of the RUC.

‘‘Justice is not negotiable because the inquiries into these outstanding cases need to happen regardless of any other issues,’’ he said.

‘‘They are stand alone issues that must be addressed.’’

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