Category: Archive

NY fundraiser for Pat Finucane conference

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The fundraiser, organized by the Brehon Law Society, is, say the organizers, intended to support the conference commemorating the life and legacy of Belfast Human Rights Lawyer Pat Finucane which will be held at Trinity College, Dublin, on February 13, 14 and 15.
Thursday’s gathering is set for Harbor Lights at the South Street Seaport
“We urge the legal community to attend this fundraiser and support the campaign for an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane,” said Sean Downes, an attorney and a member of the organizing committee.
Against the backdrop of the New York event, members of the Finucane family met with Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Dublin last week to invite him to attend the Trinity College conference, which will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Finucane’s death.
“My family met Brian Cowen and presented him personally with an invitation to our event,” said Finucane’s widow, Geraldine.
“Our commemorative event is entitled ‘Pat Finucane – His Life and His Legacy.’ We intend to reflect on all that has taken place in the last twenty years in Ireland and to examine what we have learned about British government collusion with paramilitaries in Pat’s murder and many other murders,” she said in a statement released by the family.
“We will also be examining and discussing the momentous changes that have taken place in Ireland in the legal and political landscapes, and the contribution made by Pat to ensure that equality, justice and human rights were a reality for all both during his life and after his death.”
In addition to the taoiseach, others who have been invited to the conference include President Mary McAleese, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Bertie Ahern and the current first and deputy first ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
Speakers already confirmed for the conference include the former Canadian Supreme Court judge Peter Cory, former United Nations Rapporteur, Param Cumaraswamy, U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, and a number of leading lawyers.
“My family and I were anxious that Mr. Cowen should be given his invitation personally in recognition and thanks for the support my family has received from the Irish government throughout our campaign for a public inquiry into Pat’s murder,” said Geraldine Finucane, who met Cowen along with her sons, Michael and John.
As part of the lead up to the Trinity conference, the Irish Echo hosted a breakfast fundraiser in New York last June during which New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stated that peace in Northern Ireland had to be underpinned by the truth about collusion between state forces and loyalist paramilitaries.
Quinn, who has met with the Finucane family in Belfast, is among a significant number of U.S. political leaders who have backed calls for a full independent inquiry into the shooting dead of Pat Finucane in his home and in front of his wife and children.
Two years ago, and hard on the heels of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman’s report on collusion, the U.S. House of Representatives called for such an inquiry in a resolution.
The resolution, formally entitled House Concurrent Resolution 20, calls on the British government to “reconsider its position” on the matter of an inquiry into the murder of Finucane, to amend the Inquiries Act of 2005, and to take fully into account objections raised by the Finucane family.
Speaking to the annual gathering of the Irish American Unity Conference in California last October, John Finucane said it was important that Irish America continued to focus on the issues still unresolved in relation to his father’s death.
“Pat was shot and killed in our home in front of me, my brother and sister and my mother who was shot also.”
“Yet ten years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, nothing has been done by the British government to establish the public inquiry they promised,” Finucane told IAUC members.
Meanwhile, anyone wanting to attend the Harbor Lights fundraiser, the donation for which is $150, can contact Sean Downes at (212)248-3232 or sjd_esq@hotmail.com.

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