Statement issued by Secretary of State Paul Murphy MP on the establishment of an Inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane

As I said when publishing Justice Cory’s reports, the Government is determined that where there are allegations of collusion the truth should emerge. The Government has consistently made clear that in the case of the murder of Patrick Finucane, as well as in the other cases investigated by Justice Cory, it stands by the commitment made at Weston Park.

However, in the Finucane case, an individual was being prosecuted for the murder. The police investigation by Sir John Stevens and his team continued; and it was not possible to say whether further prosecutions might follow. For that reason, the Government committed to set out the way ahead at the conclusion of prosecutions.

The prosecution of Ken Barrett has now been completed, with Barrett sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Patrick Finucane. It is still possible that further prosecutions might result from the Stevens investigation into the murder of Patrick Finucane. Nevertheless, with the Barrett trial now concluded, and following consultation with the Attorney General, who is responsible for the prosecutorial process, the Government has considered carefully the case for proceeding to an inquiry. In doing so, the Government has taken into account the exceptional concern about this case. Against that background, the Government has concluded that steps should now be taken to enable the establishment of an inquiry into the death of Patrick Finucane.

As in any inquiry, the tribunal will be tasked with uncovering the full facts of what happened, and will be given all the powers and resources necessary to fulfil that task. In order that the inquiry can take place speedily and effectively and in a way that takes into account the public interest, including the requirements of national security, it will be necessary to hold the inquiry on the basis of new legislation which will be introduced shortly.