12 December 2005

Finucanes hold first Empey talks


Mr Finucane, 39, was shot dead in front of his family

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has met with the Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey for the first time.

Mr Finucane, 39, was killed by loyalist paramilitaries at his home in 1989.

The talks were part of a series of meetings with politicians to discuss the family's concerns about any inquiry into the death under the Inquiries Act.

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine said that the meeting with Sir Reg had gone "very well".

She said the UUP leader had been "more than willing to listen to what we had to say to him".

"He agreed that everyone in Northern Ireland has a right to get to the truth," Mrs Finucane said.

She added that Sir Reg had agreed to discuss the issue with the rest of his party.


The Finucane family have said they do not think an inquiry held under the Inquiries Act would be able to get the truth.

Mr Finucane's killing was one of the most controversial of the 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, mainly because of the allegations of collusion between the Ulster Defence Association and members of the security forces.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended separate inquiries into Mr Finucane's murder, and three other controversial killings.

These were the killings of solicitor Rosemary Nelson, leading loyalist Billy Wright and Catholic father of two Robert Hamill.

The Finucane family, human rights campaigners and nationalist politicians, as well as Judge Cory, have expressed alarm at moves by the government to ensure the tribunal into Mr Finucane's murder is held under the Inquiries Act, which was passed earlier this year.

They have claimed the Act will suppress the truth about what happened, with Amnesty International saying crucial evidence could be omitted from any final report at the government's discretion.

The human rights group has urged judges not to sit on the inquiry into Mr Finucane's death.

The Finucanes have met the leader of the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party, David Ervine, to discuss the case.

There have also been talks with the US Consul General Dean Pittman, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

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