Irish government backs family after Downing Street debacle

Dublin position is Finucane position

By Francesca Ryan

The Irish government has slammed the British government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Finucane was shot dead by loyalists in front of his family in February 1989. His family have been fighting for an independent inquiry into the killing ever since.

The family met with the Irish government on Monday, almost a week after they called an end to a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron after he told them a British QC would review the papers in the case but there would be no inquiry.

Speaking after meeting the family, Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said the Finucane case was a matter of “frank disagreement” between the British and Irish governments.

While the Irish government is preparing to issue a more formal response, Mr Gilmore said he believed the British were reneging on an agreement reached at the Weston Park talks in 2001.

“There are sometimes occasions when frank disagreements arise between states,” he said. “This is one such occasion.”

Mr Gilmore said the British proposal of a review “falls short” of what was agreed with the British government over the investigation of certain murders involving alleged state collusion during the Troubles with which Mr Cameron’s government had to comply.

 

Law

Séamus Finucane, Pat’s brother, was at Monday’s meeting.  He says the family has asked the Irish government to refer the matter of the British reneging on the Weston Park talks to the Irish Attorney General.

“We went down to have a face-to-face to brief them and convey our concerns with how this decision has affected the family and other victims’ families,” he said. “Mr Gilmore’s opening comments were that it was a dark day for the country, for the family and for the rule of law.

“We went on to discuss the ramifications for the Irish government in terms of the British taking a unilateral decision to change the nature and criteria of the Weston Park talks. This is in contrast to what Irish government has been doing, they have fulfilled their requirements. At no time was the Irish government aware of what the British were going to impose upon us.

“So what you have is one government complying in the face of an economic crisis and one refusing to comply, citing time frames and costs. We have asked the Irish government to speak to the Irish Attorney General about this matter.”

The Finucanes were still submitting information on the case to the Irish government as of last night and Séamus says Dublin intends to take the matter up with the British government.

“They undertook to collate further information and said they will be making formal submissions to the British government with regards to their defaulting on Weston Park and the manner in which they brought us to Downing Street and how they treated us, and, by extension, how they have treated the Irish government.

“Mr Gilmore pledged their continued support for the family’s position. He said the Irish government’s position is the family position.”

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