Pat Finucane's family criticise Whitehall for keeping murder files secret

Solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered by loyalists in 1989
Connla Young

A SON of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has said he is 'not surprised' after the British government blocked the release of documents relating to the controversial case.

The 39 year-old was shot dead in front of his wife and children at his north Belfast home by a UDA hit squad, including British state agents, on February 12, 1989.

His son John Finucane, a former Sinn Féin election candidate, spoke out after it emerged that Whitehall departments have blocked the release of documents relating to his father’s case.

It emerged that the number of “closure applications” made by Whitehall departments to the British National Archives totalled 5,974 last year compared to 4,290 in 2016-17.

Normally the documents would be released under the 20-year rule.

John Finucane

Mr Finucane’s family has waged a lengthy legal battle for a public inquiry in to his murder.

Last month it emerged that his widow Geraldine intends to take her fight to the Supreme Court in London - the British judiciary’s highest court.

In 2011 former British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for an inquiry and instead ordered Sir Desmond de Silva QC to carry out a review of the case.

Mrs Finucane later described the 2012 report as a “Whitewash”.

John Finucane was last night critical of the latest development.

“The news that the British government has again used their power to prevent any light being shone on what they themselves have described as ‘one of the darkest chapters in their military history’ should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed our campaign,” he said.

“Given what is already in the public domain, given that the then PM David Cameron has admitted ‘shocking levels of state collusion’, which resulted in the murder of my father, it makes me wonder what more they have to hide.”

Geraldine Finucane

Mr Finucane said his family’s “consistent position” has been that “only an independent judicial inquiry will finally allow what happened to be examined in a transparent and credible manner”.

“The British government has repeatedly proved itself incapable of dealing with my father’s murder and this story is yet another example of that.”

Dolores Kelly

Former SDLP Policing spokeswoman Dolores Kelly raised concerns about the impact of the latest development on mechanisms agreed for dealing with the past through the Stormont House Agreement.

“We would want to know what impact if any such a request would have on the ability to access documents, would they have access or not?

“What others have been closed and are they going to be available to any subsequent inquiry.”

“It does not inspire confidence or good faith.”

Reports suggest some documents Whitehall officials have asked to keep under wraps relate to John Major’s time as British Prime Minister.

They are believed to include a Downing Street file on the marriage of Prince Charles and his former wife Diana.

Records relating to Lockerbie bombing, which resulted in the deaths of 270 people when a bomb exploded on a Pam Am flight over the Scottish village in December 1988, are also included.

Another relates to former president of the European Commission Jacques Delors.

Under the rules British government departments can ask for files to remain secret if they have the potential to impact on international relations, defence or security.

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