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British government's decision on Pat Finucane public inquiry 'further blow' to his family, Taoiseach says

The British government said it will not order an immediate inquiry into the 1989 murder.

Katherine (left), John and Geraldine Finucane in Belfast today.
Katherine (left), John and Geraldine Finucane in Belfast today.
Image: PA Images

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S decision to not hold an immediate public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is disappointing and a “further blow” to Finucane’s family, the Taoiseach has said.

Michéal Martin issued a statement on the British government’s decision announced earlier today by the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis. 

Finucane, a 39-year-old solicitor who represented both republican and loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles, was shot dead in his family home in north Belfast in February 1989 by the Ulster Defence Association in an attack found to have involved collusion with the state.

Finucane’s widow Geraldine and the couple’s three children have been campaigning for decades for a public inquiry to establish the extent of security force involvement.

The Taoiseach said he was “disappointed” with the news an immediate inquiry will not be held.

“The decision today will come as a further blow to Geraldine and her family, who have been pursuing truth and justice for three decades with great dignity,” Martin said in a statement. 

He met with Geraldine and her son John last week. After this meeting, the Taoiseach wrote to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the case.

He further spoke with Johnson directly by phone last Friday to “set out to him directly the compelling case for holding a public inquiry”. 

In his statement, Martin noted that Brandon Lewis “did not rule out a public inquiry taking place in the future”, but rather an immediate inquiry.

The British and Irish governments agreed to hold a public inquiry in 2001 as part of the Weston Park agreement. 

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Martin said that the Irish government “remained strongly of the view that a public inquiry was needed”. 

Earlier today the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement called for a full inquiry into the murder.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney earlier issued a statement on the decision, saying the government will ask to meet with the Finucane family again “to hear their perspective and concerns”.

With reporting by Press Association.

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