With talks taking place at Weston Park conference centre in Staffordshire and media speculation that the British government may meet demands on a number of inquiries into allegations of security force complicity.
One of the issues under consideration is the potential to involve the Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan by extending her powers to enable her to look into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane and Robert Hamill.
Speaking on behalf of the Finucane family regarding this option Martin Finucane said:
“The family of the murdered Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, wishes to react to recent media speculation that the new Police Ombudsman may be granted extra powers to allow her to re-investigate the three killings. This follows recent reports that have appeared in several newspapers, claiming that this option could be established in return for the support of the nationalists parties for new policing arrangements.
“We emphatically re-iterate our position that what we are calling for is a full public judicial inquiry – nothing less. This is what we have always said was required based on the evidence of British Government collusion that has come to light, and our demand should not be conditional on any changes to policing. The three cases of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill have been deliberately dragged into the negotiations around policing as a result of the British governments failure to implement Patten. Justice is not negotiable because the inquiries into these outstanding cases need to happen regardless of any other issues. They are stand alone issues that must be addressed.
“We welcome the support of the SDLP, Sinn Féin and the Irish government in supporting us and calling for an inquiry, but we wish to stress that any attempt to shirk their responsibility by using the call for an inquiry as a bargaining tool should be rejected and derided for the cynical ploy it really is. This family does not consider that an issue such as the State-sponsored murder of any person should be allowed to be used as a political trade-off with the British Government.
“We are entitled to know the truth and a full public judicial inquiry is the only legal process that allows us to ask the questions which we know require answers. A police investigation currently supervised by John Stevens will not establish the truth, since the investigation will be carried out in private and his report will remain secret, just as his previous reports have done. We hold the view, and have always done so, that the Stevens investigation was established by the British Government to impede the establishment of a sworn public inquiry, and this latest development to involve the Police Ombudsman is simply a further attempt at obstruction.
“Our message is quite clear on this. A full public judicial inquiry must be established and we have a clear legal strategy if this is not done. We will not rest until the British Government faces up to its responsibility because this is a matter of urgent public importance in which the State’s own agencies are involved. Those who were involved in my brother’s murder need to be exposed and nothing short of a sworn public judicial inquiry will be acceptable to my family. This is the only way in which my family can hope to get the answers that we have been asking for the past 12 years, and the only way that the public can be satisfied that all issues of concern have been openly and properly addressed.”