Earlier this week the British government announced that it would not call a public inquiry into the assassination of Pat Finucane. The minister lied, claiming that there were ongoing investigations being conducted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Both the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI itself immediately denied that there are any ongoing investigations.
The facts of the case and many more like it are well known. British security forces in Ireland established, armed, staffed and funded Loyalist death squads. Eight years ago David Cameron admitted that there “shocking levels of collusion” between the State forces and the assassination gangs. What has yet to be established is the extent of the official involvement in this conspiracy. John Finucane, Pat’s son who saw him murdered in their family home, said, “We know who pulled the trigger. We need to know who pulled the strings.”
Reproduced below is the letter set to the British Minister Brandon Lewis by the leaders of the four non-Unionist political parties in the NI Assembly. The struggle for justice for Pat Finucane and many others will go on.
We last wrote on 22 November ‘calling on you, and the British government, to act in the public interest and hold a Public Inquiry into the 1989 killing of Pat Finucane.’ 31 years after the murder, and 20 years after the Weston Park commitments, your decision yesterday not to order a public inquiry – citing that other review processes needed to be completed – is neither a credible nor tenable position.
It was an insult to the Finucane Family.
Your approach to this matter is now a matter of serious public concern.
To avoid a public inquiry, you have clearly made a calculated decision to embark on a high-risk distraction strategy that now places both the Office of the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI in the midst of a historic murder investigation at a time when the intent is to taken legacy out of policing.
Your suggested approach potentially risks wider confidence in the rule of law and the administration of justice.
The responses from both organisations to your decision are instructive. The Office of the Police Ombudsman has said that: ‘at this stage events connected to the murder of Pat Finucane are not central to any of our ongoing investigations’, and alongside that the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has that there were ‘currently no new lines of inquiry’.
Both responses raise serious questions about your decision, your approach and why you have rejected a public inquiry. This is particularly at a time when you have also not made any progress towards the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement’s legacy mechanism.
We still hold that a public inquiry is the most effective option to get the truth about the scope and extent of state collusion into Pat’s killing. You must in the public interest reconsider your response to the Supreme Court ruling.
We therefore call on you again, and the British government, to reconsider your decision and hold a Public Inquiry into the 1989 killing of Pat Finucane.
Michelle O’Neill MLA, Sinn Féin
Colum Eastwood MP, Social Democratic and Labour Party
Stephen Farry MP, Alliance Party
Claire Bailey MLA, Green Party