Dáil Unanimous on Finucane Inquiry Motion

Below is the full text of the all party Dáil Motion supporting a full public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, which was carried unanimously by the House tonight. The 20-odd minutes of the debate available here.

Update: In his contribution, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin refers to an NIO statement which criticises the motion but interestingly there’s no reference to it that I can find on the NIO website.
Recalling the brutal murder of solicitor, Patrick Finucane at his home in Belfast on 12 February 1989;

Noting the on-going allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces in the murder of Mr Finucane;

Recalling the commitments made at the Weston Park talks in July 2001 by the British Government to hold a public inquiry into the Finucane case, if so recommended by the Honourable Judge Peter Cory, it being clearly understood that such an inquiry would be held under the UK Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921;

Noting that Judge Cory found sufficient evidence of collusion to warrant a public inquiry into the case and recommended that such an inquiry take place without delay;

Recalling that in his conclusions, Judge Cory set out the necessity and importance of a public inquiry into this case and that the failure to hold a public inquiry as quickly as reasonably possible could be seen as a denial of the agreement at Weston Park;

Noting that the limited form of inquiry under the UK Inquiries Act 2005, proposed by the British Government has been rejected as inadequate by Judge Cory, the Finucane family, the Government and human rights groups;

1) Commends the Finucane family for their courageous campaign to seek the truth in this case of collusion;

2) Deeply regrets the British Government’s failure to honour its commitment to implement Judge Cory’s recommendation in full;

3) Welcomes the sustained support of successive Governments and all parties for the Finucane family over the past decade in their efforts to find the truth behind the murder;

4) Acknowledges the work of the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Human Rights in highlighting this case;

5) Welcomes the Taoiseach’s commitment and efforts in pursuing the case with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair;

6) Endorses the Government’s international efforts at highlighting the case in the US, at the United Nations and at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg,

7) Calls on the British Government to reconsider its position on the Finucane case to take full account of the family’s objections and amend the UK Inquiries Act 2005;

8) Calls for the immediate establishment of a full, independent, public judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, as recommended by Judge Cory, which would enjoy the full co-operation of the family and the wider community throughout Ireland and abroad.

  • Naoise Nunn

    Apologies for not wrapping that one up…

  • Naoise Nunn

    A reference to the statement on Ireland.com’s breaking news states:

    “An NIO spokesman claimed the motion wrongly suggests that an inquiry agreed to at Weston Park in 2001 would be held under the terms of the 1921 Act.

    The new legislation replacing the seldom-used 1921 Act, described by judges as “restrictive” and “cumbersome”, was introduced not because of the Finucane case, but because the whole system for inquiries was in dire need of reform,” he claimed.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    More…

    A Northern Ireland Office spokesman earlier said that the motion wrongly suggested the inquiry proposed by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory and agreed by the British and Irish Governments at Weston Park in 2001 would be held under the terms of the 1921 Act.

    He said: “Judge Cory said that the inquiry should be `public to the extent possible’. The Government is in complete agreement with that.”

    The NIO spokesman said the motion before the Dail stating that an Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 would be “limited” was wrong.

    He added: “Ministers will have no say in who the inquiry calls or what evidence it sees.

    “It will see absolutely everything that is relevant and it will have full powers to compel all documents and evidence to be produced and, crucially, witnesses to attend,” he said.

    “The Inquiry Report will be published and anything that is held back – redacted – will be the bare minimum necessary to protect national security and fulfil the Government’s legal obligations.

    “The Inquiry’s conclusions – that is, what happened and whether or not there
    was collusion – will certainly be made public.”

    * * *

    Basically, the Irish are accusing the British of going back on their promise made at Weston Park in 2001.

    That’s the SECOND fast one the British pulled at Weston Park; the amnesty for the security forces and terrorists was the other.

  • Pete Baker

    Naoise

    That criticism by an NIO spokesman has also been noted in other reports – BBC.. RTÉ

    But an NIO spokesperson said the motion is fundamentally flawed and misleading when it suggests that the investigation would be limited or that a fuller inquiry under 1921 legislation had been originally envisaged.

    Frankly, though, anyone entertaining the notion that through an inquiry of this kind there could be public [or even potentially comprised] access to material that may conceivably jeopardise national security is not living in the real world.

    Btw, that’s not necessarily a comment on this case, simply an acknowledgement that no government would allow an inquiry to proceed unless such safeguards [in terms of the wording of the Act] were available.

  • Naoise Nunn

    Agreed, Pete. I sense the the Irish Government knows this to well, which leads me to believe there’s a hint of political expediency involved in this particular application of pressure on the British Government.

  • PaddyCanuck

    “Frankly, though, anyone entertaining the notion that through an inquiry of this kind there could be public [or even potentially comprised] access to material that may conceivably jeopardise national security is not living in the real world.”

    How conceivably would it compromise national security to admit that the british government and security services were up to its neck in murder and collusion with loyalists?

    Is it a case of the people have nothing to fear from their government, but the government has a lot to fear from its people?

  • Pete Baker

    You missed the subsequent paragraph then, Canuck?..

  • Dec

    Btw, that’s not necessarily a comment on this case

    Well, either it is or it isn’t.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I don’t agree with Pete’s logic either – should we all just throw our hands up? We never had an Inquiries Act before, and this one seems to have been brought in SPECIFICALLY because of probes into State activity in Northern Ireland, and particularly the Finucane case.

    Given the details that are already in the public domain, it is hard to see how ‘national security’ could be further damaged. The State asks everyone else to ‘move on’, yet can’t even admit when it totally fucked things up itself and then refuses to be held to account for its lies and cover-up.

    This is a face-saving exercise that is actually only embarrassing the Government even further…

  • Pete Baker

    Given that the Act will remain beyond this particular round of inquiries, the provision for protecting national security makes perfect logical sense.

    If, however, you view the Act as relating solely to these particular cases then you may think differently.

    But it will remain on the statute books regardless.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    In other words, Pete, the cover-up of British Gov’t involvement with the Loyalist paramilitaries is a meet, just and good thing in your eyes? Because that is exactly what will happen in the absence of transparency and public access to the evidence. This has nothing to do with national security and everything with keeping the dirty laundery off the clothesline.

    Dread Cthulhu

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The Act was introduced in bad faith, and while it was rushed through for these NI cases, though it will prove useful for future Iraq inquiries.

    It has been opposed by the judge who recommended full, public and independent inquiries (why appoint him to ignore his recommendations?) and is opposed by those it is supposed to help.

    All in the name of ‘national security’, when we all have a fair idea of what happened. Changing the rules half-way through smacks of childishness, creates the suspicion that the full truth will come out and diminishes public confidence in the Government.

    So when you say “no government would allow an inquiry to proceed unless such safeguards [in terms of the wording of the Act] were available” you have to remember that every other UK inquiry since 1921 has managed just fine with different safeguards.

    So you have to ask: Why change the rules now, unless you have something to hide?

  • Jill Robinson

    “National security” eh?

    Last time I looked, “national” meant “of the nation,” and not “of the country.”

    A nation is its people. So national security should mean protection of the people. Pat Finucane was one of the people, so why was he not protected?

    Begs the question: How secure are ANY British nationals when the state refuses them security?

    And this is not an exercise in semantics.

  • heck

    pete baker

    you say “no government would allow an inquiry to proceed unless such safeguards [in terms of the wording of the Act] were available”

    this is exactlt what the british government is asking the syrian government to allow. Hyprocritical Jack (Straw) went to the UN and lectured the syrians about an investigation into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In fact syria in now full cooperating with the UN inquiry.

    the labour party and Honest Tony make middle east dictators look good

  • Did I miss something along with way?

    Why is anyone,Irish officials or interested citizens,not urging Dublin to shut down the inquiry into the murders of the RUC’s Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan unless Britain agrees to the same kind of inquiries not only in Pat Finucane’s case but also the others recommended by Judge Peter Cory?

    And remember the Irish one is where former(?)MI5 agent David Shayler, having never served in N. I., and yet coached by ‘Kevin Fulton’ in London on March 1st to make up for his ignorance, is volunteering, along with ‘Martin Ingram’ and Shayler’s girlfriend, to tell it lies at the expense of former Garda Det. Sergeant Eoin Corrigan – thanks to London’s conniving in their conspiring.

    This recommendation seems, in short, to be just more prejudicial dealings with all the dirty linen of The Troubles, North and South.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    More Dublin interference in Ulster’s affairs. Have the Irish government had a severe bout of amnesia and forgot that since 1921 Northern Ireland has been a separate state from the Free State and later the banana “Republic”?

    That said, the point should be made is this.
    Pat Finucane was shot by Highfield/Glencairn/Springmartin “A” Company of the UFF’s West Belfast Brigade at his Antrim Road home in North Belfast. Where is the need for an inquiry? It’s cut and dried – a solicitor who was suspected to be a PIRA member, gave legal advice to the Provisional IRA Army Council and represented IRA terrorists in court was executed by the UFF…what needs clarified?

    It will be interesting to see if there is such a moral outcry for public inquiries into the Gardai/IRA-colluded murders of Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The 3:44pm post came coutesy of Concerned Loyalist

  • Naoise Nunn5, your perverted order of priorities, and sense of decency in the killings that Canadian judge Peter Cory advised being investigated by independent, judicial inquires is so outrageous that I have failed to respond, thinking obviously that others would condemn your ideas.

    The Finucane murder calls out for a real inquiry, as a solicitor is an official of the courts and not a supporter of his clients. To claim that Finucane deserved to be murdered because he represented PIRA clients, like Padraig Wilson aka ‘Steak Knife’, is simply barbaric.

    And you compound your outrageous posturing by contending that nothing is being done in the Republic about the murders of the RUC’s Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.

    Where have you been? The inquiry into their killings has commenced, while Northern Ireland refuses to have a similar inquiries into Finucane’s assassination et al.

  • Naoise Nunn

    Trowbridge, just to clarify, the post to which you refer was not made by me but by Concerned Loyalist. Naoise Nunn

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “That said, the point should be made is this.
    Pat Finucane was shot by Highfield/Glencairn/Springmartin “A” Company of the UFF’s West Belfast Brigade at his Antrim Road home in North Belfast. Where is the need for an inquiry? It’s cut and dried – a solicitor who was suspected to be a PIRA member, gave legal advice to the Provisional IRA Army Council and represented IRA terrorists in court was executed by the UFF…what needs clarified?”

    The extent of the involvement of the security forces in this illegal and summary execution. As a matter of having something that nearly approaches a civil and civilized society (something Ulster very arguably attempts to be), you cannot have the constabulary participating in extra-judicial executions. Thusly, one must ask “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

    Dread Cthulhu