Northern Ireland

Complaint made to Law Society about John Finucane's attendance at IRA commemoration

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane speaking at a republican commemoration in south Armagh. Picture by PA
Sinn Féin MP John Finucane speaking at a republican commemoration in south Armagh. Picture by PA

A complaint has been made to the Law Society of Northern Ireland about the attendance of Sinn Fein's John Finucane at an IRA commemoration in south Armagh.

It has been reported that Roger Lomas, a Conservative Party member whose late father was a former secretary of the society, submitted the complaint claiming Mr Finucane had brought the legal profession into "disrepute".

The Sinn Féin MP, who works part-time as a solicitor, spoke at the South Armagh Volunteers Commemoration in Mullaghbawn earlier this month.

He told the event, which commemorated members of the IRA's south Armagh unit killed during the Troubles, that they gathered "to stand in solidarity with the families to remember their loved ones, and to remember their sacrifices and contributions".

Mr Finucane faced condemnation for attending the gathering as a keynote speaker, with DUP deputy leader Gavin Robinson accusing his fellow MP - whose father Pat Finucane was gunned down in front of him by loyalists in 1989 - of being a "hypocrite".

Sinn Féin accused the DUP of whipping up a controversy to distract from the party's role in the ongoing political impasse at Stormont.

It has now emerged that Mr Lomas has contacted the Law Society, the professional body for the solicitors' profession in Northern Ireland, to complain about Mr Finucane's involvement in the event.

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Belfast Live reported that Mr Lomas claimed Mr Finucane's attendance was "demeaning to the legal profession".

"Mr Finucane in my opinion should choose between his law profession and that of being a politician rather than bring 'politics' into the realms of the legal profession so publicly," he wrote.

Mr Lomas also said his father, who had been Law Society secretary from 1972 to 1985, stood for the "highest standards of professional conduct".

He added that Mr Finucane's involvement in the republican commemoration would have been regarded as "disrespectful" by his father and his generation of solicitors.

A spokesperson for the Law Society said it "does not comment publicly on any complaints it receives".

Sinn Féin has been contacted for comment.