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7 April 2005 Edition

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Finucanes angry at new Inquiries Bill

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane said they will not participate with any inquiry if the British Government presses ahead with controversial new legislation limiting the scope of inquiries.

The family was reacting to reports on Wednesday night 5 April that the British Government intended to press ahead with the legislation before the dissolution of the British Parliament next week, ahead of the 5 May Westminster election.

Direct rule minister Paul Murphy agreed last year to hold an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, who was shot dead in front of his family in 1989, but indicated that because of national security concerns, new legislation would have to be drafted to allow evidence to be considered in private.

Withhold co-operation

Finucane's brother Martin said if the Inquiries Bill, allowing evidence sessions to be held in private, is not compliant with Canadian Judge Peter Cory's independent recommendations for a full public inquiry and is pushed through, the family will withhold co-operation.

"The family has made its position quite clear regarding this new legislation. If it goes ahead we certainly could not accept or participate with the inquiry," he said.

Martin Finucane said the British government signed an inter-governmental agreement with the Irish government at Weston Park that they would abide by the findings of Judge Cory's report.

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