Cowen and Clinton asked to mark Finucane murder anniversary

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and former US President Bill Clinton are among several high-profile guests invited to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and former US President Bill Clinton are among several high-profile guests invited to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Finucane, 39, was gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries as he ate a meal with his family at his home in February 1989, although the British security forces have repeatedly been implicated in the killing.

Family members, including his widow Geraldine, today personally invited Mr Cowen to the three-day event at Trinity College Dublin, where Mr Finucane studied.

“We intend to reflect on all that has taken place in the last 20 years in Ireland and to examine what we have learned about British Government collusion with paramilitaries in Pat’s murder and many other murders,” Ms Finucane said.

“We will also be examining and discussing the momentous changes that have taken place in Ireland in the legal and political landscapes, and the contribution made by Pat to ensure that equality, justice and human rights were a reality for all both during his life and after his death.”

Other invited guests include President Mary McAleese, US Secretary-of-State elect Hillary Clinton, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Minister Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

The commemoration will run from February 13 to 15 and begin on the Friday evening with a gala dinner in Trinity’s Commons dining room.

An all-day conference will follow on the Saturday with speakers including former Canadian Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory, former UN Rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy and US Congressman Christopher Smith.

The event will draw to an end on Sunday with a soccer match and a dedication ceremony where a bench overlooking College Park will be unveiled.

Mrs Finucane added: “My family and I were anxious that Mr Cowen should be given his invitation personally in recognition and thanks for the support my family has received from the Irish Government throughout our campaign for a public inquiry into Pat’s murder.”

More in this section