Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Finucane killer freed

He admitted his deed on BBC's Panorama I'd like to express right now my disgust over the fact that Ken Barret (pictured left), the man responsible for murdering Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989 (along with his security force handlers of course), has been released from Maghaberry prison.

This is the guy who was told in September 2004 that he was getting a life sentence and that he would spend at least 22 years in jail - he hasn't even served 3 years.

Why is this the case? Because he qualified for early release having been transferred to NI from England. As a prisoner in England, he did not qualify for early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Which begs the question - why on earth did they transfer the guy knowing he might be freed?

Pat Finucane's son Michael said the family's reaction was one of acceptance, since his release was inevitable. The Finucane family is unhappy with an inquiry which is being set up to examine the murder as Michael Finucane made clear:

"The prosecution of individuals was never a primary focus for my family.

"We always felt that the murder of Pat Finucane went far beyond the killing of just one man.

"What I'm not prepared to go along with is being told that a real inquiry is being established when obviously that is not the case."

The SDLP's Alban McGuinness and Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly have backed the Finucane family's call for a public, independent inquiry.

I too hope there is a full, public and independent inquiry into Pat Finucane's death but the fact that this loyalist killer has been released tells me that sinister elements still have significant influence over the peace process.

Barrett should be in jail and despite reports that NI Secretary of State Peter Hain opposed his release, I believe there's something very dodgy about the fact that this individual is now a free man.

Not even three years for murder. Where else would this happen but in the north of Ireland? Sad.


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