Family reject legislation – Finucane family press statement in response to the Inquiries Bill
PFC | 27 November 2004
This bill does not comply with the recommendations of Judge Cory. The British Government agreed at Weston Park that "In the event that a public inquiry is recommended [by Cory] in any case, the relevant government will implement that recommendation".
Judge Cory recommended a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Pat's murder and identified the "basic requirements" for a public inquiry. One of these requirements was stated to be that "the Tribunal should have full power to subpoena witnesses and documents together with all the powers usually exercised by a Commissioner in a public inquiry. Clause 17 of the Bill is a wholesale departure from the Weston Park Agreement and the Cory Recommendation in that an inquiry established under this draft legislation will not have all the powers usually exercised by a Commissioner in a public inquiry since, it gives the Minister the power to determine when the inquiry sits in private and what material is to be withheld. These are self-evidently amongst the most important powers exercised by inquiries.
Furthermore, this provision in the bill attacks the very independence of any such inquiry since it will not be vested with exclusive jurisdiction and control which is the very hallmark of independence. In addition and in order to be truly independent the tribunal will have to be international in character and be composed of judges of standing equivalent to Judge Cory. The Finucane family cannot take part in any inquiry established under these conditions.
We call upon all those who signed up to the Weston Park principles to ensure that they are fulfilled and that Judge Cory's recommendation is implemented in full.