04 February 2006

Finucane family to see Hain on probe

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
03 February 2006

The family of Pat Finucane and Secretary of State Peter Hain will meet next week about the controversial terms for the inquiry into the solicitor's murder.

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine and other family members will meet Mr Hain on Tuesday and testify before the Dail's foreign relations committee two days later.

The family and the Government are in dispute about the terms for holding the inquiry into collusion between Mr Finucane's UDA killers and the state.

Last week Mr Hain said that the inquiry will be held under the controversial Inquiries Act or there will be "none at all".

The family have campaigned for almost 17 years for an inquiry into the murder, but say they "can not take part in any inquiry set up under the Inquiries Act", arguing that it destroys the independence of the tribunal investigating the case.

The new law gives Ministers the power to withhold information.

"The truth of what happened and why is located in the secret corridors of Whitehall.

"The family cannot get involved in any inquiry in which the Ministers in charge of those very same corridors will be in charge of Pat's inquiry."

The family have led an international campaign to convince judges to refuse to take part in the inquiry under the present terms.

So far the Government has been unable to find a judge to take on the case.

The judges in charge of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal and retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory, who recommended the inquiry into the 1989 Finucane murder, have indicated that the conditions imposed by the Inquiries Act are unacceptable.

Mr Hain says the Act would guarantee the co-operation of MI5 agents in the collusion inquiry because it would protect their sources.

"It will enable the security services and police to give evidence in a frank way and help find the truth," he said.

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