Category: Archive

Governments get new Finucane murder report

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST — The 10th anniversary of the murder of Belfast civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane was commemorated by the handing over a major new report on the killing to the Irish and British governments.

Full-page advertisements were also published in three newspapers, in Belfast, Dublin and London, carrying the names of 1,100 lawyers in support of the Finucane family’s demand for a full public inquiry.

Finucane was murdered by the UDA on Feb. 12, 1989, but a report presented to the British and Irish governments by British/Irish Rights Watch claims the UDA was being directed by the RUC and British military intelligence.

By the time he was murdered, Finucane had succeeded by hard work and legal brilliance in challenging what republicans at the time called the "conveyer belt" no-jury court system. He was regarded as a significant thorn in the side of the then British establishment, and particularly the RUC.

Three gunmen shot him dead in front of his wife and children in the kitchen of his north Belfast home. His wife, Geraldine, was also shot in the leg. She was a member of the delegation that met last Friday with the Irish and British governments to hand over the report.

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The precise details of the report are being kept secret, to avoid prejudicing potential future prosecutions. It’s understood that it includes the names of several of those believed responsible for setting up Finucane for murder.

Suspicions that there was more to the killing than sheer sectarianism were fueled when a UDA double agent, Brian Nelson, admitted he’d set up the killing and that his British Army handlers knew in advance.

Lawyers from the Republic who’ve signed the petition include Michael McDowell of the PDs, William Binchy, professor of Law at Trinity, former Attorney General Harry Whelehan, and Jo McMenamin, chair of the Bar Council.

In Britain, Sir Louis Blom Cooper, Gareth Pierce and Michael Mansfield have signed the petition. Other signatories include several U.S. congressmen, a former Canadian solicitor general, the DPP for New South Wales in Australia, and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, daughter of the assassinated Robert Kennedy.

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