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West Belfast event marks 30th anniversary of Pat Finucane murder

John Finucane, son of Pat Finucane, who was murdered 30 years ago, speaking at a memorial lecture on Sunday. Credit: Pacemaker

The family of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane have renewed calls for an independent public inquiry into his murder on the 30th anniversary of his killing.

The 39-year-old was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries on Sunday 12 February 1989 in an attack found to have involved collusion with the state.

Mr Finucane, who represented a number of high-profile republicans, was murdered in front of his wife and children at their north Belfast home.

Former prime minister David Cameron decided not to hold a public inquiry into the killing – one of the most notorious of The Troubles – but ordered an investigation by a senior lawyer.

The review by Sir Desmond de Silva QC, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, concluded there was “no overarching state conspiracy” in the lawyer’s death but found “shocking” levels of state collusion involving the army, police and MI5.

The family described Sir Desmond’s 2012 report as a “whitewash” and has waged a lengthy legal battle for a public inquiry which has reached the UK's highest court.

Mr Finucane's son John was a schoolboy when his father died in front of him.

He told UTV: “It’s quite surreal, 30 years is such a big number, but yet having lived it, it really has went in the blink of an eye.

“I was eight when my father was killed but the campaign really is as strong as ever, we have been in the Supreme Court last year, we await their judgement.

Whether it takes another five, 10, 15 years our family still remain here, the support from the community and wider is still here and we won’t be going away until we receive truth and justice.

– John Finucane
Geraldine Finucane (centre) with her family and Gerry Adams (left) attend a 30th anniversary memorial lecture for murdered Solicitor Pat Finucane. Credit: Pacemaker

Also speaking at the event at St Mary’s University College on the Falls Road was former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD.

“It’s years since the British government gave commitment for a full public inquiry into this man’s death,” Mr Adams commented.

“He was a human rights lawyer, that’s why he was killed. Those who killed him were agents of the British Crown. He was also a father, a brother, an uncle, a son, he was a very rounded, cheerful positive human being.

“He didn’t care what your politics were, whether you were loyalist or republican, unionist or nationalist, you have rights, that’s what Pat’s mantra was and the issue of rights is as important today as it was in his time.

“We have outstanding rights issues, we have rights actively being denied to citizens here and throughout the world. So it’s good that we honour Pat’s name but we also have to continue to fight for rights for everyone.”