Response of the PFC to the Cory Report

The Pat Finucane Centre condemns the failure of the British Government to establish an independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The Cory Collusion Inquiry Report makes clear that the need for such an inquiry in Pat Finucane’s case. The British and Irish governments guaranteed at the Weston Park talks that a public inquiry would be established if Cory recommended this.

The Pat Finucane Centre welcomes in principle the announcement of public inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright. The announcement is recognition of the longstanding efforts of all the families and their supporters in human rights organisations and different political parties for truth and justice in each of these cases.

Spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre said:

It is important that these inquiries are now established immediately and in a manner with which the families are satisfied. It is vital that these inquiries are independent in nature and that the commitment to time-limit and cost-limit the inquiries is not used as an excuse to continue to cover-up the crimes of commission and omission involved in the different cases. It is important that we learn the lessons of the two Bloody Sunday inquiries in particular are learned before any new inquiries are established. The inquiries must establish the truth of each case whatever embarrassment this causes to the British state, the British Army, the RUC/PSNI and the British security services. The future of the Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement depends on a successful resolution to the profound concerns that exist in each of these cases.

The PFC endorses Judge Cory’s analysis that if criminal prosecutions are to proceed the practical effect might be to delay the public inquiry for at least two years. The Finucane family will be devastated. A large part of the Northern Ireland community will be frustrated. Myths and misconceptions will proliferate and hopes of peace and understanding will be eroded. This may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will be of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions.

The spokesperson went on to say:

We recognise a specific obligation for justice in the cases of our friends Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. While any murder has terrible consequences for the individuals and families involved, the murder of leading human rights defenders has additional and specific implications for the defence of human rights – a concern that is at the very heart of democracy, peace and the rule of law. It is poignantly ironic that Rosemary Nelson was one of those human rights defenders who had campaigned most actively for a public inquiry into the murder of her colleague Pat Finucane. The widespread concern in the international human rights community around the deaths of Pat and Rosemary was testament to how important these tragic events were – both nationally and internationally. The British Government must deliver justice to these human rights defenders if it is to have any credibility in its stated support for human rights and democracy. If they wish to maintain any credibility in the international human rights community at all, they should establish an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucance immediately.

For further comment ring Dr Robbie McVeigh, spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre on 07796277231