Last night the British Government announced that it will not hold a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. This has come as a devastating blow to the Finucane family. Pat's widow, Geraldine, and his three children, Michael, Catherine and John, have fought for three long decades for truth. They had hoped that this week the British Government would finally seize the opportunity to do the right thing and grant the necessary inquiry, but yesterday's announcement shattered that hope.
The Finucane family have rightly described the decision as "astonishing, arrogant and cruel". Instead of granting a public inquiry, the British Secretary of State proposes to leave the case in the hands of the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman. This ludicrous proposal flies in the face of the British Supreme Court ruling of 2019. That ruling made it crystal clear that none of the previous investigations, including police investigations, were capable of uncovering the truth as regards the extent and level of British state collusion in Pat Finucane's murder. The court ruled that these investigations failed to meet the standards of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Given the incontrovertible evidence that the British state and its agents were directly involved in the authorising and planning of the killing of Pat Finucane, it is utterly farcical that the British Secretary of State should advise the Finucane family to seek truth and justice in this way. The family knows all too well that this is not a genuine avenue to truth and justice. It is, in fact, a cul-du-sac, at the end of which is only more bluff and more delay. They see it for what it is: another confidence trick. The only reason to take this approach is to continue with the cover up and to ensure that those agents of the British state responsible are never ever held to account. In the words of Geraldine Finucane, this decision "is yet another insult added to a deep and lasting injury".
It is clear that the British Government is determined to keep a dark cloak over the extent and depth of state collusion in the targeting and killing of nationalists in the North of Ireland. It seems that far too many powerful people have far too much to lose from the Finucane family and so many others having justice for their loved ones and peace for themselves. The British Government has set itself against the Finucane family and against the highest court in its own jurisdiction. The British Government has also set itself against the Irish Government and this Oireachtas in its call for a full public inquiry. Speaking on radio this morning, Geraldine Finucane said:
I will never run out of road as long there’s breath in my body. Today is a new day. We shall take stock and move forward.
It is vital that everybody in the Oireachtas moves forward together with the Finucane family in their fight because we are all united in our stance that the demand for a public inquiry is a just one and a necessary one. The family are counting on all of us to continue with our support for them. What, in the Taoiseach's view, can we now do together to ensure the British Government ends it resistance to the truth and grants a public inquiry?