Finucane family still 'devastated' by inquiry refusal

The family of murdered solicitor Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane have said they are still recovering from the humiliation of a meeting with the British Prime Minister.

Finucane family still 'devastated' by inquiry refusal

The family of murdered solicitor Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane have said they are still recovering from the humiliation of a meeting with the British Prime Minister.

Mr Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in his North Belfast home in 1989.

On Tuesday, David Cameron told the family that a review of the case would be carried out, rather than a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, a DUP MLA has accused the Taoiseach Enda Kenny of "hypocrisy", for his support of the family, in the aftermath of the meeting.

David Simpson has challenged Enda Kenny over his true commitment to the truth, alleging that there was collusion between sectors of the Irish Government and the Provisional IRA during the Troubles.

He added that there was "no attempt" to get to the truth of that story.

Lawyers for the family, including Mrs Finucane's sons, John and Michael, attended meetings over the last year with Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson and his officials.

Mrs Finucane said the British Government was keen to know if the family would participate in an inquiry and, if so, under what conditions.

They had opposed a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 because the widow said a Government minister could impose a restriction notice on the inquiry at will.

Mrs Finucane said the Baha Mousa Inquiry into the death of an Iraqi created a precedent for the Government not to use the powers.

The family told the Government that an inquiry operated along the same lines as Baha Mousa would be something they could participate in.

The widow added: “Although it was made clear that the minister would make the final decision on an inquiry, the indications from Government officials were encouraging.

“At no time were we advised that an alternative to an inquiry was also under consideration.”

She said that, during a recent telephone conversation between a senior Northern Ireland Office official and her lawyer, Mr Madden, he was told the Prime Minister was confident they would be happy with what was on offer.

“We could not bring ourselves to believe that we were being invited as guests to the Prime Minister’s home just to be refused the public inquiry promised many years ago,” she said.

“The fact that David Cameron did so, and in such a public fashion, ranks as one of the most cruel and devastating experiences of my life.”

Mr Cameron appointed Sir Desmond De Silva to carry out the review. He has extensive experience dealing with the aftermath of conflict in Serbia and Sierra Leone.

Mr Paterson has said he will have access to official documents on the case, witnesses and more than a million pages of material compiled by the Stevens probe.

Mrs Finucane said: “Although he will be permitted to speak with relevant persons, this will be done behind closed doors, my family will not be permitted to participate.

“We will see nothing for ourselves, hear nothing for ourselves and say nothing for ourselves. If anyone refuses to speak with Mr De Silva, he has no power to compel them.”

The family are holding an urgent meeting with the Taoiseach next Monday.

Members of the US Congress have criticised the decision and former Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward has also lent his support to the relatives.

Mrs Finucane said: “My family does not believe that a public inquiry into Pat’s murder would elevate his case above the deaths of others.

“We believe that a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane would be a force for good and not a long-running, open-ended waste of money.

“It would clear a lot of the very poisonous air that has been left behind.

“Most of all, we do believe that the British Government should honour the promise they made.”

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