Friday, February 10, 2006


Oireachtas blasts British over Finucane inquiry

A victim of British State murderI was pleased to hear the calls from the Oireachtas yesterday urging the Irish Government to strongly reject a British bid to control an inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

The Finucane family were told by British Secretary of State Peter Hain this week that the only way a probe could be carried out is under the restrictive Inquiries Act.

Pat Finucane’s son, Michael on Thursday told the Oireachtas Human Rights Sub-Committee in Dublin that this meant that those who sanctioned and covered up the killing would be investigating themselves in a sham inquiry.

It would offer neither independence, accountability or transparency, he added.

He told the all-party body: "The British will retain ultimate control of the inquiry mechanism.

"In these circumstances, what one would be getting is an government-controlled intelligence services inquiry, where it could transpire that the only people in the room talking to each other are the very people who created the collusion monster in the first place, the people who sanctioned the killings and the people who covered them up afterwards. I will not participate in such a sham."

Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his wife and children in his north Belfast home in February 1989.

The family has spent recent weeks briefing political party leaders north and south of the Border.

The DUP's Ian Paisley Junior disgracefully called for an end to the investigation into the murder of Pat Finucane on Wednesday after the PSNI disclosed that the investigation had cost almost £9m (€13.1m) so far.

Apparently in the eyes of the DUP, you CAN put a price on the truth.

Thankfully, the Irish parties have rallied around the Finucane family and called for the Irish Government to challenge the British on the matter. Oireachtas member Labour TD Michael Higgins proposed that the Irish Government express concerns in the strongest manner to Westminster:

"It is beyond a matter of concern. We must recommend to the Irish Government that formal notice should be given to the British government that direct action is required to bring about an independent, public inquiry."

Seconding the motion, Fianna Fáil TD Pat Carey said he regarded the British government’s attempts to control the inquiry as a cynical approach. Mr Carey, who is chairman of the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body, said he would raise the issue at the next plenary meeting in Killarney in April:

"This is a red-line issue in relation to human rights," he said.

Independent TD Tony Gregory characterised the proposed British inquiry as a nonsense:

"We have to get the message across to the British that this is not acceptable under any circumstances."

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White said she didn’t feel that the British government would listen to the Oireachtas while Senator Terry Leyden described Mr Finucane’s murder as a state-sponsored assassination.

I am delighted at the response of the Irish parties towards this issue. In my opinion this issue is just as important as the fight against the disgraceful OTR legislation.

I think Senator Leyden hit the nail on the head. This was state-sponsored assassination and the family deserve to know the full truth about what happened.

What are your thoughts?


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