Public Inquiry into Finucane Murder supported by Cavan County Council

Fianna Fáil County Council, John Paul Feeley has called on the British Government to honour their commitment to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast Solicitor, Pat Finucane.

‘On Sunday, 12th February 1989 at 7.27pm a band of murders entered the Finucane Family Home and murdered Pat Finucane in front of his wife and family. He was an unarmed man, who was murdered for doing his job on behalf of his many clients,  many of whom were involved in the Troubles on both sides and indeed the security forces.’

The Murder of Pat Finucane has attracted international attention from the early days after the event because of the evidence that he was murdered with the assistance of elements in the RUC and the security forces  The need for a proper investigation was raised by a UN appointed Special Rapporteur in 1999 and has continued to be highlighted by the reports prepared by retired London Metropolitan Police Chief, John Stevens and retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge, Peter Cory. The need for a public inquiry was further agreed by the British and Irish Governments and the political parties in the North of Ireland in the Weston Park Agreement in 2001.

The British Government subsequently appointed Desmond de Silva, SC to complete a report which confirmed ‘a series of positive actions by employees of the State actively furthered and facilitated the murder and that; in the aftermath…there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice,’

‘A fundamental of any democracy is that everyone, irrespective of their quilt or innocence has the right to a fair trial, access to independent legal advice and when the subject of investigation for that to be done in accordance with the law. There are all too many examples of situations where the authorities in the North of Ireland fell well below these standards. During the course of the Troubles. In the Finucane Case, a solicitor was murdered with the aid of the State for doing his job in vindicating the rights of his clients. For the British Government to rehabilitate their own reputation the full facts must be put out in the open and this can only be done by way of a full public independent judicial enquiry.

De Silva stated that this brutal murder dates from ‘an extremely dark and violent time in which a lawyer could so callously and tragically be murdered as a result of discharging his professional duties.’ Councillor Feeley stated that by their actions before, during and after the Finucane Murder the British Government reduced the British State to that of a criminal gang, not a sovereign democratic state.

‘Weeks before the murder, then Junior Home Office Minister, Douglas Hogg referred to a number of solicitors who were ‘unduly sympathetic’ to paramilitaries.  He and his Government gave the blessing to a murder by a gang of which only one member has been brought for justice.’

‘After the murder, the authorities attempted to portray Pat Finucane as a paramilitary activist. These accusations, this attempt to blacken a legal professional doing his job has been totally discredited.’

‘The information already in the public domain, if coming from some third world country would be used to demonstrate that that country was a failed democracy, that this happened in a country which regards itself as a western democracy is all the more reprehensible. Thankfully the situation in our country has greatly changed but without justice and openness in cases such as this society will find in very difficult to move on. The British Government must honour their agreement and immediately hold a full public enquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.’

The motion received support from all the political parties and it was agreed to convey the support of Cavan County Council for a public inquiry to the British Ambassador.