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21 June 2001 Edition

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American group backs Finucane inquiry call

The influential National Committee on American Foreign Policy has backed calls for an independent public inquiry into the killing of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane. The National Committee called on the British government to set up a full judicial investigation in to the 1989 killing after hearing from his widow, Geraldine Finucane and former law partner Peter Madden.

At the New York meeting, the committee's chairperson Bill Flynn said the murder raised issues of human rights violations which had to be put to rest for the peace process in the North of Ireland to proceed. Flynn said following the meeting the group would be raising the profile of the issue with senior politicians in the US.

Geraldine Finucane had told the committee that questions arising out of her husband's murder needed answers. ``Pat's murder has become a very complex issue and has moved far beyond the death of the man himself. This is an issue of grave public importance and must be dealt with accordingly.''

 

Canadian MPs and Senators support Finucane Inquiry call



Support is growing in Canada for the establishment of a judicial inquiry into allegations of state force collusion in the 1989 assassination of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane. Prominent Canadian politicians, lawyers, and trade unionists have signed a petition calling for a full international independent judicial inquiry into the killing in the wake of allegations contained in a recent UTV Insight program on the RUC Special Branch's handling of the Finucane murder investigation.

Included among the petition's signatories are ten MPs and two Senators. The group of politicians includes Pat O'Brien MP (Liberal), Chair of the influential Canada-Ireland Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, and Colleen Beaumier MP (Liberal), Chair of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Human Rights. Also signing the petition were Pierre Paquette MP (Bloc Quebecois), James Rajotte MP (Canadian Alliance), Svend Robinson MP (New Democratic Party), and Liberals Joe McGuire MP, Marlene Jennings MP, Roger Galloway MP, Carolyn Bennett MP, Brenda Chamberlain MP, Senator Wilfred Moore and Senator Isobel Fennerty.

Among the many lawyers supporting the petition are Paul Copeland, a governing bencher with the Law Society of Upper Canada, and Cindy Wasser on behalf of the Association In Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. Vancouver lawyer Gina Fiorillo, a petition signatory, believes that a ``consensus is growing among a number of Canadian lawyers that the British government must order an immediate and full judicial inquiry into the killing of Patrick Finucane and anything less than that simply cannot be countenanced''.

Support for the petition was also strong among trade unionists. Tom Dufresne, President of the International Longshoreman's Union, Brian DeBech, representative of the Retail Wholesale Union in British Columbia, and Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario) are prominent signatories. Also lending support to the Canadian initiative were Ross Wilson and Paul Golter, President and Secretary, respectively, of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

Commenting on the success of the petition, former Canadian Solicitor General Warren Allmand said: ``In line with the spirit of the British government's adhesion to the European Human Rights Convention and the recent House of Lords' decision in the Pinochet case, the UK government should move quickly to institute a full inquiry into the killing of this human rights lawyer.''

Steve Carroll of the Information On Ireland Campaign in Ottawa, sponsors of the petition, pointed out how the supporting politicians came from across the political spectrum and from every region of the country. He affirmed that the IOIC plans to continue collecting signatures on the petition in the months ahead to help pressure the British government into setting up an inquiry. John O'Reilly MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Canadian Minister of National Defence, voiced his support for the IOIC's work commenting: ``I fully support your endeavours and believe a judicial inquiry should be made regarding the death of Finucane. The true answers should be found and made known.''

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