12 December 2005

Murdered solicitor's family press for DUP meeting

BreakingNews.ie

12/12/2005 - 18:36:03

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane are to press for a meeting with the Reverend Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists as part of their campaign for an inquiry acceptable to them, they revealed tonight.

After a meeting with Ulster Unionists leader Reg Empey in Belfast, Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine said they were keen to discuss the case with the wide range of opinion in the North and elsewhere.

“We will be seeking a meeting with the DUP,” she confirmed.

“The talks we had today with Sir Reg were positive.

“We believe the system which resulted in my husband’s murder has affected a wide range of people in both communities.

“The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson has been at the forefront of efforts to get to the truth about what happened to (murdered loyalist prisoner) Billy Wright and has supported his father, David’s campaign.

“I would hope that if he is supportive in that case that he is also willing to hear our arguments about the need for truth and justice in Pat’s case.”

Mr Finucane was gunned down by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in his north Belfast home in 1989.

However an investigation by former Metropolitan Police chief Sir John Stevens has claimed the solicitor was a victim of collusion between the loyalist gang that killed him and members of British Army intelligence and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory also recommended separate inquiries into the murder of Mr Finucane and three other controversial killings in the North - Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson, Portadown catholic Robert Hamill and Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright who was shot dead in the high security Maze prison.

The Finucanes, Judge Cory, human rights organisations and nationalist politicians have been critical of the British government’s decision to set up a tribunal into Mr Finucane’s murder under the terms of a new Inquiries Act which they say will restrict information.

Under the Act, they claim Government ministers will be given the power over the inquiry judges to determine what is heard in public and what information will be given to the tribunal.

Mrs Finucane said tonight: “We spelt out our position on the Act and an inquiry into Pat’s murder to Sir Reg.

“He said he would go back to colleagues in his party to discuss the legal implications of the Inquiries Act.

“It was a very good meeting and in my view a very important meeting.”

The Finucane family has in recent weeks met with the US Consul in Belfast Dean Pittman, Progressive Unionist leader David Ervine whose party is linked to the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

They will meet the leader of Ireland’s Anglican Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eanes in Armagh tomorrow.

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