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4 November 2004 Edition

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Finucane family still in dark after meeting Blair

The family of Pat Finucane left their meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday with as many questions as answers, according to Michael Finucane, son of the murdered Belfast solicitor.

The family sought the meeting over concerns following the British Government announcement that new legislation is to be introduced before an inquiry is set up due to "national security considerations".

Speaking to the Pat Finucane Centre on Tuesday night, Michael said: "We sought specific assurances which we didn't receive. Whether or not we co-operate with any eventual inquiry depends now on the nature of the legislation to be introduced. We are still very much in the dark and this is unsatisfactory after 15 years. But we had to leave the British Prime Minister in no doubt that if we are put to the sword we will walk away."

Speaking earlier, Pat's widow Geraldine Finucane said: "We think we are entitled to a public inquiry with an international aspect to it, an inquiry that will get to the truth of this matter and which will bring closure for us.

"Closure is something that we want but we will not accept it at any price. If we are given something substandard of course we will walk away."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on justice issues Gerry Kelly warned the British Prime Minister that nationalists and republicans are watching very closely his government's every move on this issue and that he cannot continue to stall the establishment of a fully independent, international inquiry'.

Kelly said: "The track record of successive British Governments in dealing with the issue of collusion, and specifically the murder of Pat Finucane, has been one of concealment and cover-up.

"So far this British Government has failed to allow the sort of independent inquiry demanded by the Finucane family and which is acknowledged as the only mechanism which can reveal the truth about the murder of Pat Finucane to proceed.

"The British Government must publish immediately the terms of reference for the proposed inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. This will allow the Finucane family and those of us who support their demand for a full independent judicial public inquiry to assess whether the inquiry proposed will have the capacity to uncover the truth about British state involvement in this murder."

Pat Finucane was shot dead in his home in February 1989 by loyalist gunmen working on behalf of RUC Special Branch and the Force Research Unit of the British Army.

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