Thursday, 12 February 2009

Pat Finucane 20 years on: Public Inquiry Now!

Please sign, and distribute, the online petition being launched on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane by a British-sponsored loyalist death squad. The petition is available at

Background (Preamble):
Leading Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane (39) was shot dead by a loyalist death squad in front of his wife Geraldine and their three young children as they sat down to dinner on February 12, 1989.

Overwhelming evidence that the British state colluded extensively with Pat's killers has been revealed but successive governments have for two decades blocked attempts by Pat's family to initiate a fully independent, international public inquiry into his assassination.


A police inquiry led by the former head of the London Metropolitan Police John Stevens concluded in 2003: “Collusion is evidenced in many ways. This ranges from the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder.”

Despite this, the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the North of Ireland ruled in June 2007 that there was “insufficient evidence” to bring any further charges against any police officers or British army soldiers.

A British government-commissioned review of Pat's case led by Canadian Judge Peter Cory recommended a full public inquiry into the case in 2004, which the government has failed to implement.

And under the Inquiry Act 2005, which the British government insists is the only possible framework for any future investigation in this case, the government would control who sits on the inquiry, it could order that part of the inquiry be held in private and it could decide which findings are published and which are kept secret.


Pat's murder happened just weeks after British Home Office minister Douglas Hogg claimed in the British Parliament that some solicitors in the North of Ireland were “unduly sympathetic” to Irish republicans.

The extent of state collusion is illustrated by those involved in Pat's murder:

*The man who provided the intelligence for the killing was Brian Nelson, a British army agent.

*The leader of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) group which carried out the killing was a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch agent, Tommy Lyttle.

*The man who subsequently confessed to being the UDA gunman who killed Pat Finucane was Ken Barrett, also a Special Branch agent.

*The UDA man who supplied the gun that killed Pat was William Stobie, a Special Branch agent – later killed in 2001 by the UDA when he threatened to lift the lid on the Finucane case.


Since his death Pat's family has battled for an independent, international public inquiry into his murder. They have campaigned tirelessly and have won significant international support, including from UN agencies, Amnesty International and now the new US President Barack Obama.

As time goes on the chances of an inquiry uncovering the truth get smaller. Already at least two key witnesses have died.

Pat's wide Geraldine Finucane has said: “Each day that passes makes it all the more likely that the adage 'justice delayed is justice denied' will be all too apt in my husband’s case.”

We, the undersigned, support Pat Finucane's family in their struggle to establish the truth behind his 1989 murder, and to uncover the role the British state played in colluding with the loyalist death squad that assassinated him.

We condemn the policy of successive British governments of repeatedly delaying a full inquiry into Pat's case.

We call on the British government to immediately initiate a fully independent, international public inquiry into Pat's murder.

20 years on, it's time for truth.

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