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9 February 2006 Edition

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The truth must out

The British Government has effectively told the family of defence solicitor Pat Finucane that they will never know the truth of why he was murdered in 1989.

Speaking on RTÉ radio on Wednesday morning 8 February, Pat's son Michael, asked how British Direct Ruler Peter Hain could sit straight-faced in front the family on the previous day and insist that the only way an inquiry could be held into his father's death was under the controversial British Inquiries Act.

Pat Finucane was a solicitor, but it doesn't take a family well-versed in the rule of law to understand that this legislation prevents any disclosure of the British state's role in his killing. As Michael pointed out, it was designed to encourage the 'co-operation' of British forces.

Imagine this in the context of the Morris Tribunal — the defendants, individual Gardaí, being encouraged to 'co-operate' by having the opportunity to give testimony in secret and then having that testimony kept secret in case it damaged the state. There would be uproar if such legislation dictated the terms of inquiries in the 26 Counties.

Judge Peter Cory, who recommended an inquiry into Finucane, Amnesty International, Sinn Féin, the Irish Government, the SDLP, nationalist and human rights groups, have all called on the Finucane inquiry to take place in a transparent and independent fashion. If the British Government has nothing to hide, they ask, what is the problem?

But there is a problem and everyone knows it — the British Government has a lot to hide. All the evidence points to British state collusion with unionist paramilitaries in the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989.

By refusing to let the truth surface, the British Government is not playing its full part in the Peace Process. It is time for the British Government to end its secretive, state security obsessed approach to politics. The covert activities of the anti-Peace Process, anti-truth brigade within Britain's ranks must be outed. The British Government must acknowledge the damage it has inflicted in the Six Counties.

The Finucane family deserves nothing less than the truth about Pat's murder. The peoples of Ireland demand it.

An Phoblacht Magazine

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