Northern Ireland: "Astonishing, arrogant and cruel": government refuses inquiry into Pat Finucane murder


The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane have condemned the UK government's decision not to order a public inquiry into his death as "astonishing, arrogant and cruel".

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Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, told the House of Commons that the levels of collusion between the state and loyalist paramilitaries surrounding Finucane's murder were "unacceptable", but said there was a need to wait until ongoing inquiries by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Police Ombudsman were completed.

Following that, he would "consider all options available to me to meet the Government’s obligations" to ensure an investigation compliant with requirements set out by the Supreme Court in a 2019 judgment.

The Committee on the Administration of Justice has condemned the government's decision, underlining the "absurdity" of the government's approach - Simon Byrne, the Chief Constable of the PSNI, said following the publication of the government's statement that "there are currently no new lines of inquiry," and that the force "now need to decide if a further review is merited given all the previous investigations into this case."

Pat Finucane was murdered on 12 February 1989 when two loyalist gunmen from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) broke into his home, where he was having dinner with his family, and shot him 14 times.

It later emerged that Brian Nelson, the UDA intelligence officer responsible for directing the  attacks, was an agent controlled by the British army’s Force Research Unit (FRU). One of the killers, Ken Barrett, told the BBC some years later that it was the police who wanted Finucane dead.

In February 2019, the UK Supreme Court ruled that no investigation conducted into Pat Finucance's death up to that point had been compliant with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, but said that did not necessarily mean "a public inquiry of the type which the appellant [Finucane's family] seeks must be ordered. It is for the state, in light of the incapacity of Sir Desmond de Silva’s review and the inquiries which preceded it to meet the procedural requirement of article 2, what form of investigation, if indeed any is now feasible, is required in order to meet that requirement."


See also


Find out more about Pat Finucane's murder and collusion between the British state and loyalist paramilitaries in the Statewatch Database

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