During the broadcast of the weekly BBC NI programme, “The View”, on Thursday, 12 January, 2017, an interview took place that included the DUP Minister for Communities, Mr. Paul Givan MLA. The topic of the interview was the Renewal Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme.
In the course of discussing the RHI scheme and a proposed inquiry into its operation, Mr. Givan deliberately introduced the Finucane family. He stated his view that Sinn Fein didn’t want a public inquiry “because the Finucane family don’t want a public inquiry”. He went on to say that Sinn Fein were more interested in “appeasing the republican agenda than dealing with this particular issue “.
These remarks went unchallenged by the interviewer, and we are pleased that the BBC has agreed to broadcast a clarification of the matter during tonight’s edition of “The View”. It is understood that the BBC regrets any distress caused to the Finucane family.
It is our view that the remarks were entirely without basis, crass, dangerous and uttered for the basest of motivations. We have conducted a dignified campaign for the truth surrounding the murder of Pat Finucane for 28 years, and have consistently been on record in supporting the rights of all victims who seek the truth of their loved ones death. The family of Pat Finucane are very upset that their case should be linked to an issue with which they have no concern or commonality. The inappropriateness and irrelevance of the link has been brought to the attention of the BBC and Mr. Givan.
We were compelled to write to Mr Givan. In response to that correspondence, Mr. Givan has confirmed that he does not consider the Finucane family to support or form part of any Republican agenda he had accused Sinn Fein of advancing.
He has also apologised for the distress caused by his remarks.
We trust that such damaging and hurtful comments will not be repeated by him or any other politician in future.