I used to think that the killing of Pat Finucane touched people here, at least in part, because he was middle-class. A successful lawyer, living in a nice house, sitting down to a family dinner as so many people like him have done. And then the door opens and Death comes in.
I still think that the ease with which the middle-class could identify with him and his family played a part in his death standing out from so many others. But I’ve changed my mind that class was the central issue in terms of people’s response. I now believe it was because he was a lawyer.
The fact that he came from a republican family, the fact that he defended those charged with IRA activities should not have entered into his right to conduct his work with all the energy and talent he had. The fact is that Pat Finucane played by the rules – he worked literally within the law. And for that he was cut down mercilessly in front of his wife and children.
The family have for years been campaigning for a public inquiry into his death. The British PM David Cameron has accepted that collusion took place and apologised to the family – but he refused to set up a public enquiry. Instead he set up a review of the evidence under the London lawyer Desmond de Silva.
So what will the family get when the review reports on 12 December? Not what they asked for, that’s for sure. Cameron has appointed de Silva in the hope that people will be unwilling to criticise the report because it might be seen as criticism of de Silva. It won’t. The criticism of the report is and will be that it’s not a public inquiry. And it’s not a public inquiry because the British government is concerned that some very old skeletons might tumble out of the cupboard.
I do hope the Finucanes refuse to be fobbed off with the de Silva report. I don’t think they will.
It is hard not to contrast your piece on Pat Finucane's family with the recent one about Ann Travers
The former should refuse to be fobbed off but the latter should let go and move on?
Surely you are not being provocative?
As a nationalist, it doesn't matter to me what this report says, I won't accept anything less than a fully independent international inquiry, and even at that realise the Brits are unlikely to ever let that cat out the back
It always astounds me when governments are short sighted enough to palm someone off like this; does Cameron honestly think that this review, something massively short of an independent inquiry, will suffice for the Finucane family and its many supporters? I am certain we will eventually see a full inquiry, anything in the mean time is just stalling and money wasting on the government's part.
Regarding Ann Travers and her own situation and how I believe this differs, again I am sorry for her loss (I genuinely am) and she is perfectly entitled to pursue whatever line she wishes, however, her situation is one where the killer of her sister has seen prison and done time for her actions, there can be no disputing it. The Finucane family have not seen the killers do time and it is apparent to many that the State had a massive involvement in his fate.
Further, the State de facto investigating itself when it is one of the parties to the victim's murder is a farce of the highest order.
I agree with you regarding the Finucane case and I hope they persist until they find the truth.
The point about Ann Travers is that other people were involved, more directly than Mary McArdle, in the murder (a tragic mistake I believe McArdle called it) of her sister. And those others have not been named tried or convicted.
So the 2 situations are indeed the same in that respect, and for Jude to suggest that she should move on is indicative of his double standards. Sadly.
“The Finucane family have not seen their killers do time”—–I understood that at least some of their killers had been convicted .The names Barrett and Stobie come to mind although the latter may have been killed before he stood trial.Presumably the Finucanes would like to unmask those who orchestrated the murder behind the scenes.
Thanks folks for the replies.
If I may:
i) There is a rather large difference from the assailants having been previously indited for a crime and serving time for the crime of murdering Pat Finucane. Going to court or being in the process of going to court is not the same, something I am sure you will all agree with.
ii) Regarding Ann Travers, and I need to be very careful of what I say as this is a sensitive issue and often something in black and white may be misconstrued, come across as cold and lacking in empathy or lack the nuance that the spoken word has, is the main issue here not that someone who did time for a violent crime is now seen to be 'profiting' from a well paid publicly appointed role? This someone had served time too for her acts while Finucane was murdered as part of some government conspiracy?
TBF, I do not see why ex-paramilitaries should be debarred from a publicly appointed role especially in light of the rather large monetary compensation packages that former RUC officers received when they were fired/made redundant/told they were part of the problem/use whatever you would like here and then subsequently reinstated in very lucrative contract roles, many the very next day. The RUC were an awful, disgusting bunch of people and have an awful legacy the world over including collusion with paramilitaries and accusations of occasionally running killings too.
Now, we can call this 'whataboutery', have at it; OR the above can be used to show the inconsistencies in the positions of many when they leap on the Ann Travers bandwagon, usually for political gain as opposed to any kind of moral issue.
Hence why I do not see this issue as being remotely the same as the Finucane one. The Finucanes are victims of collusion by the state in their father's murder. Traver's is the victim of a paramilitary organisation, of which the killer of her sister was a well paid political appointee and she thought that the appointee was profiteering from the murder of her sister. Now, she is calling for some former paramilitaries to come out and give names (entirely understandable to be brutally honest), however, if she were somewhat cleverer than she appears at present she would perhaps pay attention to what Barney Rowan et al have been up to over at Eamonn Mallie's blog and note that so long as there is no mechanism for everyone's truth to come out and be heard, she is merely playing politics. Now, she is a very reasonable person and articulate, but again, it is a form of playing politics.
Have I missed something here?