Finucane inquiry hopes dashed

Over on Slugger O’Toole I argue that the UK government decision to reject a public inquiry into allegations of state collusion in the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane should not merely be considered as an insult to a family, but as a betrayal of a commitment by the state to uphold law and order in this country.

Much of the debate in the comments zone has degenerated into normal, partisan ‘whataboutery’, but for me the important thing is to keep the focus on what the proper response of the state – any state – is to evidence pointing towards involvement by numerous state agents in the murder of a lawyer.

That this requires more than a normal police investigation seems obvious to human rights activists, but the best that is being offered by the government is a review of case files by Sir Desmond DeSilva QC.

It is clear that the Finucane family is determined to continue its campaign for an effective, independent inquiry. Amnesty and other human rights organisations have already pledged their support, as has the Irish government, but the prospect of success appears to have dimmed significantly in light of yesterday’s decision, which ran counter to the expectations built up in advance of the Downing Street meeting.