12 January 2006

Finucane family in series of ‘positive’ meetings in Dublin

Daily Ireland



The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane had a series of “very positive” meetings with political leaders in Dublin yesterday.
Speaking to Daily Ireland moments after leaving a meeting with Tánaiste Mary Harney at the Department of Health on Hawkins Street yesterday evening, Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine said she was happy with the meetings.
“The meeting with Mary Harney was very positive, and it was a continuation of the other two meetings we had. Everybody is more than willing to support the call for an independent inquiry,” she said.
Members of the Finucane family had met Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Green Party leader Trevor Sargent earlier.
Mrs Finucane said: “They believe that we have every right to seek the truth and to have an inquiry that is independent and meaningful and are prepared to come together and give us cross-party support.
“She [Mary Harney] did not say anything specific but she said that she thought that it would put added pressure on the British government if all the parties came together.
“She said that this was one of the rare occasions when the Dáil is united on a issue. And she felt that it would happen in this particular case because this particular case deserved it.”
After his meeting with the Finucane delegation at Leinster House, Green Party leader Trevor Sargent said: “We fully support the Finucane family in their call for a public and independent inquiry.
“I will be writing directly to British PM Tony Blair on this matter and raising it in the Dáil with the Taoiseach at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I will also be meeting with public representatives from both unionist and nationalist traditions in Belfast to ensure the widest possible consensus for a truly independent inquiry.
“Following the Weston Park agreement, the British government had agreed to the type of independent public inquiry which is needed.
“I believe they are now honour bound not to row back on that position, which in fact they are threatening to do by introducing a political dimension to the inquiry.
“This political dimension is that a British minister rather than a judge will have the last word on the evidence allowed.
“It is clearly not appropriate for a British minster to be determining what evidence is admitted.
“Ultimately, it is unlikely that any judge would agree to oversee such an inquiry when its independence has been so severely compromised,” concluded the Green Party leader.
Yesterday the Finucanes repeated their call to all the political leaders to call on the British government to reveal the full truth about Pat Finucane’s death.
The family is concerned that any inquiry under Britain’s Inquiries Act 2005 will gag witnesses and restrict information.
“We don’t believe the truth will come out at all with the Inquiries Act,” Geraldine Finucane said.
Mrs Finucane and other relatives last month met Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey and Church of Ireland archbishop Robin Eames as part of a series of meetings with political and church leaders both inside and outside the North.

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