The murder of Pat Finucane

Patrick Finucane, a prominent human rights lawyer, was shot dead in front of his wife and young children as they sat down to Sunday dinner on 12 February 1989.

During the 23 years since, conclusive evidence has shown that both the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary had highly placed agents in the loyalist paramilitary group that carried out the murder.

Human rights NGOs and others who have investigated the killing believe the only reasonable conclusion is that very senior British officials must have had foreknowledge that this murder was to take place.

John Stevens, former Assistant Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, conducted a number of inquiries into collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the RUC and British Army.

The extensive evidence he gathered remains secret.

In 2001 the Irish and British governments asked Canadian Judge Peter Cory to conduct a review of six cases involving allegations of collusion and to make recommendations on the need for inquiries.

The two Governments agreed to act as the judge recommended.

In his 2004 report, Judge Cory stated he had found sufficient evidence of collusion to warrant a public inquiry and recommended one should be conducted as soon as possible.

Since 2004, the British Government has repealed all existing laws relating to public inquiries and passed a new statute, the Inquiries Act 2005, of which sections 19 and 20 give government ministers exclusive power to restrict public access to information and to order that all or part of “public” inquiries should be held in private.

Judge Cory has commented since the passing of the Act that no self-respecting Canadian judge would agree to participate in such a government-controlled inquiry, which he went on to describe as an “Alice in Wonderland situation.”

On 11th October 2011, members of the Finucane family met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street.

Cameron admitted State Collusion in Pat Finucane’s murder.

However, the Judge Peter Cory recommendation of a public inquiry, previously accepted by Tony Blair, was denied, and that only a review of the Stevens and Cory casefiles would be undertaken instead.