Death of Broadcasting Pioneer Marian Finucane (1950-2020)

Irish broadcasting pioneer Marian Finucane died suddenly at her home yesterday, age 69. The Irish Times writes: Over the course of a career spanning almost five decades, she was at the vanguard of media and social change in Irish life, in particular when it came to the position and rights of Irish women. For millions of listeners across generations, her voice was as familiar as that of close family members. She will be remembered for her role on RTE’s Liveline phone-in programme; …

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Pat Finucane Centre: Human Rights do not depend on identity of victim or perpetrator …

So the director of the Pat Finucane Centre DID neglect to mention that he had been sworn into the Provisionals in his youth. Apparently it was well known in Derry. Elsewhere, not so much. Thank you to the Irish News for checking its veracity and confirming that it was true. Why does it matter? Well, for one thing, we should know if a human rights body is run by a former member of an illegal organisation that was responsible for …

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Director of Pat Finucane Centre may have questions to answer about his undisclosed past…

Shane Paul O’Doherty has a fascinating long blog about his childhood friend Paul O’Connor in which he alleges that the long standing Director of the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) has failed to disclose important details about his past in Derry. The piece contains a profile picture of a young man whom O’Doherty alleges is the young O’Connor standing beside a sign with the words “Provo Check Point Stop”. It was taken by US photojournalist Brian Hamill, O’Doherty claims, “approximately 6 …

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Veil of secrecy over Special Branch informer system lifted a chink as the Finucanes make their bid to the Supreme Court

The Guardian lead on the Walker report ( no relation), neatly coincides with the opening of the Finucane family’s bid to the Supreme Court to order a public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s murder.  The “secret”  report by a former head of MI5  complied in 1980 – nine years before he was murdered –  was  “the blueprint for making RUC special branch a ‘force within a force’, according to the human rights legal group the Committee on the Administration for Justice …

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North Belfast by Numbers: Finucane & Dodds set for battle

There are good reasons to believe that, even with a solitary Unionist candidate in North Belfast, there is a possibility of John Finucane pulling off a shock and taking the seat from the DUP’s Nigel Dodds in next month’s Westminster election. The DUP MP’s vote lead in 2015 over Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly was substantial. Running without a unionist opponent, Dodds claimed over 19,000 votes, with Kelly just under 14,000. The differential turnouts between unionists and nationalists was a considerable …

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Sinn Fein running John Finucane in North Belfast

The Westminster contest in North Belfast just got serious. Sinn Fein have announced their intention to run Belfast-based solicitor John Finucane in the constituency at next month’s Westminster election. After nationalists succeeded in taking a majority of seats in the constituency at the Assembly election in March, Sinn Fein are clearly seeking to capitalise on the resurgent nationalist vote, and the candidacy of John Finucane will make this into a straight Dodds vs Finucane contest. The candidacy of John Finucane …

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O’Loan calls Stormont House Agreement ” an insult” as Labour promises a Pat Finucane inquiry

Amnesty International are not alone in finding the resources allocated in the Stormont house Agreement inadequate for dealing with the past. At a meeting of RightsWatch  in Westminster last night,  the first Police Ombudsman  Baroness Nuala O’Loan  was scathing, describing the allocation of £150 million over 5 years to deal with all the issues of the past, as “a joke and an insult to the people of Northern Ireland.” The Historical Investigations Unit was “totally inadequate”.  She also said Attorney …

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Madden and Finucane on the ending of the #Cahill court case…

Madden and Finucane Solicitors, acting on behalf of Padraic Wilson, Seamus Finucane, Briege Wright and Maura McCrory have issued a letter stating their opposition to Mairia Cahill‘s version of events: It states that those accused have been subject to a lengthy police investigation and that Cahill has been “afforded every resource the state could offer”. The letter states that Padraic Wilson had previously been a member of the IRA had been dismissed by a court previously and claims that Mairia Cahill, “would …

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Geraldine Finucane: “A deep wound cannot be stitched over and just left because it won’t heal”

In the week the Victims Commissioner quietly and discreetly left her post, the BBC’s Stephen Sackur conducted an unusually moving and telling interview with Geraldine Finucane, widow of Pat Finucane. I recommend watching the whole thing, but I think the end was the most powerful and universal: There is an analogy that I use quite frequently, which I think sums Northern Ireland up quite well. If you have a wound, a wound of any sort, you treat it a certain …

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#Finucane: was Nelson a rogue or rogue agent?

The Attorney General is going to find it harder and harder to sell his no more inquiries, no more investigations proposal. Particularly so when the improvised methods of ‘investigation’ appear to have been little more than tactics for the British government to avoid decommissioning its own violent legacy. Far from finally drawing a line around the issues connected to the murder of Pat Finucane, further research has now shown that the background given by de Silva on Brian Nelson and …

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After Finucane, “a new disaster waiting to happen, ” warns Justice lobby group. But why not a new inquest?

The de Silva report  presents a challenge to the legal establishment and others in Northern Ireland over how to proceed in the light of the UK government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry. Accountability concerns are not confined to history. They remain a live issue today since the devolution of policing and justice. One of the key issues is to how to subject the police and security service’s covert operations to critical examination  to prevent such gross abuses in future. “Moving …

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Finucane allegations – put up or shut up

  Ruth Dudley Edwards, quoted approvingly in the News Letter, has exposed the posthumous indictment of Pat Finucane in the Daily Telegraph that deeply offends the family and repels more than supporters of a public inquiry.  It’s important to say that the Prime Minister accepted the findings of the de Silva report following Stevens, that he was not a member of the IRA. I post her article because it is a valid part of public discourse however unpalatable to many …

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Finucane controversy won’t die down

 Continuing demands for a “full independent international inquiry” into the murder of  Pat Finucane are unlikely to be stilled  to allow police and prosecuting authorities to consider what to. From their reactions yesterday we can be certain that unionist politicians will characterise the prominence given to the case as “one sided justice” and will heighten their demands for more aggressive action over IRA murders. Political division over the Finucane case  has surfaced as we knew it would,  further complicating any …

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#Finucane: this report is a sham, this report is a whitewash

So now we’ve had the publication of the latest report into the killing of Pat Finuance in 1989 courtsey of Rt Hon Desmond de Silva QC (full text here). The surprise that David Cameron articulated in the Commons today, much like with Saville, is merely the formal admission of what has long been accepted by most other people. Pat’s widow Geraldine made a statement on behalf of the Finucane family today, which can be viewed here. The Finucanes are critical of the reports …

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Finucane: facts we need to know updated

    In the light of David Cameron’s statement, to keep my head above water in the flood of information and angry comment   I itemise questions of fact I‘d like to keep sight of. Perhaps others can add to them.   Update I intend to add to the list myself as I plough through the review and  review comment. I’ll add  convincing answers as they emerge. The Q&A will not all be about new material but will also  include matters which deserve repetition …

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Thinking beyond Finucane

I’m surprised, both that a public inquiry into the Finucane murder has been refused, and that the response to the refusal so far  has been quite muted. Perhaps it’s only the calm before the storm. I would guess that the decision was finally taken on political grounds, namely that the UK government can get away with it. That probably wasn’t true a few years ago. If it’s true today, it may be a backhanded compliment to what we still call the …

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Cameron’s decision on Finucane case insults family, betrays us all

When a lawyer is murdered in any country, it should be a matter of great public concern, seen rightly as an attack on the entire legal system. When there is clear evidence pointing towards the collusion of a range of agents of the State in that murder, then the mood should become one of national outrage. When the killing, alleged collusion and cover-up is happening not in Latin America or Russia, but within the UK, then one might expect that …

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MI5 make conditional offer on Finucane – WikiLeaks

Unless Iran is your patch, this is probably the most interesting Wikileaks outing to date. The Security Service’s offer is revealed in a cable from June 2005, written by the US ambassador to Dublin, James C Kenny, which reported on a meeting between the head of MI5 and Mitchell Reiss, the US special envoy to Northern Ireland. In an account of the meeting between Reiss and Ahern, the ambassador wrote: “Reiss briefed him on his talks in London, including with …

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Finucane result “soon” as Woodward attacks coalition for slow progress on legacy

This a full report of the  Saville  debate and replaces Woodward’s bombshell The unlikely figure of Shaun Woodward has torn open the smooth surface of Westminster consensus by launching an attack on his successor for dilatoriness in tackling the legacy of the Troubles. Despite his criticisms and and government protestations  they were moving as fast as posible, the debate  yielded  few clues about what  should replace public inquries in complex controversial cases beyond a suggestion to look again at Eames/Bradley’s  legacy commission. There was no …

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BBC carry Wilson’s and Finucane’s denials…

If you want to keep tabs on the latest twists and turns Gerry Adams’ story regarding his brother Liam, check out Pete’s invaluable running timeline… As mentioned below the BBC have finally got round to reporting the Sunday Tribune story and they lead with the Cahill story (the one that never had any legal complications around it) and denials from two former IRA men cited in the original story. Neither are pressed on the specific allegations made by the victim …

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