The murder of Pat Finucane
Patrick Finucane, a prominent human rights lawyer, was shot dead in front of his
wife and young children as they sat down to Sunday dinner on 12 February 1989.
During the 23 years since, conclusive evidence has shown that both the British
Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary had highly placed agents in the loyalist
paramilitary group that carried out the murder.
Human rights NGOs and others who have investigated the killing believe the only
reasonable conclusion is that very senior British officials must have had
foreknowledge that this murder was to take place.
John Stevens, former Assistant Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire Constabulary,
conducted a number of inquiries into collusion between loyalist paramilitaries
and the RUC and British Army.
The extensive evidence he gathered remains secret.
In 2001 the Irish and British governments asked Canadian Judge Peter Cory to
conduct a review of six cases involving allegations of collusion and to make
recommendations on the need for inquiries.
The two Governments agreed to act as the judge recommended.
In his 2004 report, Judge Cory stated he had found sufficient evidence of
collusion to warrant a public inquiry and recommended one should be conducted as
soon as possible.
Since 2004, the British Government has repealed all existing laws relating to
public inquiries and passed a new statute, the Inquiries Act 2005, of which
sections 19 and 20 give government ministers exclusive power to restrict public
access to information and to order that all or part of “public” inquiries should
be held in private.
Judge Cory has commented since the passing of the Act that no self-respecting
Canadian judge would agree to participate in such a government-controlled
inquiry, which he went on to describe as an "Alice in Wonderland situation."
On 11th October 2011, members of the Finucane family met with British Prime
Minister David Cameron in Downing Street.
Cameron admitted State Collusion in Pat Finucane's murder.
However, the Judge Peter Cory recommendation of a public inquiry, previously
accepted by Tony Blair, was denied, and that only a review of the Stevens and Cory
casefiles would be undertaken instead.