The Government has noted the important judgment of the UK Supreme Court in the Finucane case on 27 February last, including the declaration that an investigation compliant with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights has not been held into the murder of Pat Finucane.
The Finucane family and the British Government will wish to consider this judgment in full. The Government is also examining the judgment closely.
The Taoiseach and I were pleased to meet with the Finucane family in recent months to confirm the Government’s ongoing support for their search for truth and justice. My Department remains in ongoing contact with the family at this time.
The Taoiseach confirmed on 27 February that the Government’s position remains that an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane should be established, in line with the political commitments made by the British and Irish Governments at Weston Park in 2001. The Government has made this position consistently clear to the British Government, and will continue to do so.
I met with the UK Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington MP, in Dublin on 28 February and, as part of our discussions, I raised the UK Supreme Court judgment the previous day and the Government's position that an independent public inquiry is required in the Finucane case. I also raised the matter in my meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP in London on 6 March. The Government's position will also be reaffirmed to the British Government in writing, taking account of the UK Supreme Court judgment and declaration in the Finucane case.
The case of Pat Finucane is being discussed today by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, under the McKerr group of cases which concern the effectiveness of investigations into Troubles-related deaths in Northern Ireland and the UK's obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. The Irish national statement will reaffirm the Government's support for a re-opening of supervision by the Committee of Ministers in the Finucane case in accordance with the request of the applicant, Geraldine Finucane. The Irish statement will also re-affirm the Government's position that a public inquiry into the case should be established, consistent with the commitment made in this respect by the British Government under the Weston Park Agreement of 2001.
My thoughts are with Geraldine Finucane and her family who have had to campaign unceasingly over the last 30 years, simply seeking to establish the full facts behind the loss of their loved one. The efforts of the Finucane family, pursued with courage, dignity and resilience, are replicated in different ways by many other families across all sections of the community, North and South, East and West, who continue to seek truth and justice following the loss of their loved ones in the dark years of the Troubles.
The legacy of the past still needs to be fully addressed, and this must be done in a way that meets commitments made to all victims and survivors, including by implementing the Stormont House Agreement and by honouring the commitments made at Weston Park nearly 18 years ago.
The Government will continue to engage with the British Government to seek progress with outstanding commitments and issues, to comprehensively address the legacy of the past and meet the needs and expectations of victims and survivors.