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Family of Pat Finucane begins legal challenge

“Clearly we have a difference of opinion here” – the Taoiseach discussing the possibility of a public inquiry into the murder with the British PM yesterday.

Geraldine Finucane, wife of Pat, outside court today after being granted a judicial review.
Geraldine Finucane, wife of Pat, outside court today after being granted a judicial review.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 12.25pm

THE FAMILY OF murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was in court today to begin a legal challenge to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision not to hold an independent inquiry into the 1989 murder.

Geraldine, the wife of the murdered man, and her family were given leave to seek a judicial review into Westminster’s decision to appoint a lawyer – Sir Desmond De Silva – to look into the killing.

The QC’s review is expected to be completed by December 2012 but there has been a campaign established calling for an independent, public inquiry instead of this review of the case.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Michael Finucane, Pat’s son, said the case will be argued in full before a judge over three days in May.

Pat Finucane was killed by loyalist paramilitaries who stormed his north Belfast home and shot him at his dinner table, while his wife and three children looked on.

His death was one of the most high-profile deaths in the troubles, due to his work as a leading solicitor for high-profile republicans.

The family have spent years fighting for a public inquiry that was promised by former PM Tony Blair in 2001. They described Cameron’s decision to allow a QC to head the case as “insulting”.

The government has already accepted that there was a degree of security force collusion in Finucane’s death, according to U.TV.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson has said a review of the existing case is the best way to “get to the truth” but the family disagree, stating a full public inquiry is needed.

“In a nutshell, the murder of Pat Finucane has produced evidence that may implicate the British government in the murder of a solicitor, an officer of the court,” Michael Finucane, Pat’s son, told the BBC.

Who in their right minds would take the government’s word for anything in a case such as that? That is the reason why this review is unsatisfactory. It’s why we’ve taken court proceedings and it is why we must have a public inquiry.”

Yesterday, the Taoiseach raised the matter with British PM David Cameron. However, the discussion led Enda Kenny to exclaim, “Clearly we have a difference of opinion here,” reports the BBC.

Michael Finucane told TheJournal.ie, “We are pleased with the continued support from the Irish Government.

The Government feels it is a very important issue and it will not be allowed to fade. The Dáil also shares our dissatisfaction with the proposed review, which is not an adequate mechanism to get to the truth – and it is also not what was agreed upon back in 2001.”

Sinn Féin has also welcomed the fact that Kenny discussed the case with Cameron.

“By refusing to have the inquiry Mr Cameron is in breach of an intergovernmental agreement,” said party president Gerry Adams. “He needs to be pressed relentlessly and forcefully to honour this obligation.”

Read more: Cameron rules out inquiry into 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor>

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