Cameron must hold public inquiry into murder of Pat Finucane

Publication of the report by Sir Desmond de Silva QC on the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane drew a robust critique of some elements of British security forces from prime minister David Cameron in the House of Commons when he concurred with the report’s findings that “employees of the British state actively furthered and facilitated” the murder and subsequently engaged in a relentless effort to defeat the ends of justice.

Mr Cameron apologised on behalf of his government and the whole country to the Finucane family, but reiterated his government’s refusal to initiate a full public inquiry as demanded by the Finucane family.

The report’s findings that RUC officers destroyed evidence, ‘lost’ records, and returned a murder weapon used in the killing of Mr Finucane to the British army from where it was reported stolen, is clear evidence that some of Northern Ireland’s security forces operated beyond democratic political control.

Prime minister Cameron, despite his public acknowledgement and expression of regret at British security force collusion in the murder of Mr Finucane, continues to set his face firmly against the holding of a recommended public inquiry .

A full independent public inquiry was recommended by retired Canadian supreme court judge Peter Cory who was tasked by both the Irish and British Governments to investigate the murders of solicitros Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, a decision which at the time had the unequivocal support of the then Labour government under Mr Tony Blair who promised to initiate a full public inquiry .

The decision by Mr Cameron not to proceed with a public inquiry is unprincipled, unworthy and unsatisfactory.

The terms of reference of the review undertaken by Desmond de Silva are too narrow. They prohibit the public and even the Finucane family from any input into the review. The family are not permitted to see any documents or hear any evidence related to the case, which is held behind doors. Furthermore, Mr de Silva had no power to cross-examine those who did attend, so cannot make a decision based on fact, only on opinion.

Tom Cooper


Dublin 16

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