The widow of murdered Northern Ireland solicitor Pat Finucane said today she felt “angry” and “insulted” after David Cameron told her he was proposing a barrister-led review of her husband’s case.
After meeting the prime minister in Downing Street, Geraldine Finucane told reporters the whole family was “very disappointed” and would not support the initiative.
The family wants a full independent inquiry into the loyalist shooting in 1989.
Mr Finucane was shot by the UDA as he sat eating a Sunday meal at home. His wife was wounded in the attack, which was witnessed by the couple’s three children.There were allegations that some members of the security forces collaborated with loyalist paramilitaries to the extent that they could have stopped the killing.
Speaking in Downing Street, Mrs Finucane said: “I am so angry and so insulted by being brought to Downing Street today to hear what the Prime Minister had on offer.
“He is offering a review. He wants a QC to read the papers in my husband’s case and that is how he expects to reach the truth. All of us are very upset and very disappointed.”
She added that she was “so angry with the prime minister that I actually called a halt to the meeting”.
Mr Finucane’s son Michael, who also attended today’s meeting with Mr Cameron and Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, accused the prime minister of “reneging on a commitment that the previous government made to hold a public inquiry”.
He said Mr Cameron gave the “feeble” explanation that public inquiries had not worked in similar cases. “He seemed oblivious to the fact that the absence of participation by our family would mean we simply couldn’t support what he proposed,” he added.
In a statement, the Pat Finucane Centre campaign group said: “It is absolutely vital that any inquiry be allowed to delve into the involvement of the British Army Force Research Unit, RUC Special Branch and the security service MI5 in the murder.
“Britain is failing to honour the commitment it made at Weston Park to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory, the Canadian judge appointed by the two governments to evaluate the evidence in a number of contentious cases.”
Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to examine allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane murder and other controversial killings.
He recommended a public inquiry into Mr Finucane’s death, as well as inquiries into the murders of Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill, solicitor Rosemary Nelson and Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright, shot dead by republicans at the high-security Maze Prison. The three other inquiries have already been held.
Former prime minister Tony Blair promised the victim’s family that the allegations would be investigated but no inquiry was set up.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said if Mrs Finucane was not happy with the outcome of her meeting with Mr Cameron, then the House would not be happy either.
He was responding to comments from Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who called for the Government to challenge Mr Cameron’s proposal to organise a barrister-led review rather than a full inquiry.
“I think the Government needs to press it and very, very hard,” said Mr Adams. “This is once again the British government looking to play a long game on this issue and it isn’t fair.”
The Taoiseach agreed, saying all parties in the Dáil were behind the Finucanes. He said he spoke to Mr Cameron who had informed him of intentions for the case. “He indicated to me it was his intention to get to the truth of this matter as quickly as possible and to issue an apology on the death of Pat Finucane,” he said.
“I told him that the house had always supported Geraldine Finucane in her search for the truth and the issues surrounding the death of her husband,” he said. “I haven’t changed my mind and I indicated quite clearly that if Geraldine was not happy with what was on offer then clearly we would not be happy either.”
He said Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will invite Mrs Finucane to meet the Government next week to discuss the meeting with Mr Cameron and to establish how to move forward.