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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# The Troubles
Taoiseach will 'make clear' to Boris Johnson the need for public inquiry into Pat Finucane murder
Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine and son John met the Taoiseach yesterday.

THE TAOISEACH HAS said the British government “should and must” hold a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

Micheál Martin has told the Dáil the Finucane family have the “full weight” of the government behind their endeavour to seek justice for Mr Finucane’s killing.

It comes after Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine and son John met the Taoiseach at Government Buildings in Dublin on yesterday It was the first time the Fianna Fail leader met the family since he became Taoiseach.

North Belfast MP John Finucane said Martin had “committed” to engaging with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in advance of the court deadline of 30 November for the British Government to respond to a Supreme Court ruling made last year.

Pat Finucane, 39, was shot by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his family in 1989 amid claims of collusion with state security forces.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach said the need for a public inquiry was agreed as far back as 2001 and that the UK should stick to that agreement.

“I will be engaging with the British Prime Minister on this issue, and making it very clear the consistent view of successive of Irish governments that are should and must be called public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane,” Martin said.

Yesterday I did sit down with Pat’s wife Geraldine and her son John and I made it very clear to them that they would have full weight of the Taoiseach’s office behind their endeavour. I think for more than 30 years Geraldine Finucane and her family have campaigned tirelessly to get to the truth of what happened in to Pat It’s been a very, very long journey. They have conducted it with great dignity and determination.

In February last year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that investigations into the fatal shooting of the solicitor have not been effective and fell short of international human rights standards.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has indicated that a decision over how the government will proceed will be announced.

pat-finucane-murder PA John Finucane and Geraldine Finucane outside government buildings yesterday. PA

Martin was responding to Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald TD, who said the family should not have to suffer any longer and that only a public inquiry could assist them in getting to the truth.

“The Finucane family have spoken truth to power for 30 years. They haven’t been and they will not be silenced. Their questions deserve answers and their questions will not go away,” she said.

“The British Government has an obligation to ensure that the truth is told.”

McDonald told the Dáil she had written to Johnson urging him to “fulfil Britain’s international human rights obligations and hold a public inquiry”.

Speaking after meeting the Taoiseach yesterday, John Finucane MP said the Taoiseach was “completely unambiguous” in his support for their cause.

Finucane said the family were very grateful for his support.

“There’s no doubt in our minds that he understands not just the issues in our case, but the significance that it represents, the importance of having an inquiry, of finally dealing with this campaign, which has been going on too long – we’ve been fighting for an inquiry for 31 years,” he said.

Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine said: “It means a great deal that the Irish government are continuing to strongly back our call for an inquiry.

He has obviously supported us for a long time, long before he became Taoiseach and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all he’s about to do. I just hope it pays dividends.

On Sunday, it emerged that four of Northern Ireland’s political parties united to call for a public inquiry into the murder of the solicitor.

The letter,  signed by senior members of Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Alliance and Green Party, emphasises that establishing the full facts around the killing is a matter of “the utmost public interest” and that “only a public inquiry can now assist the Finucane family to get the truth about the scope and extent of state collusion into Pat’s killing”.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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