UK against Finucane inquiry despite Blair agreement, says Bertie Ahern

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Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern pictured with former UK prime minister Tony Blair.
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Vivienne Clarke

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said it was his understanding that both the Irish and British governments had accepted after the Good Friday Agreement to investigate a number of high-profile cases.

However, before he left office, he said it had become clear to him that despite his agreement with then-British prime minister Tony Blair, the British government did not want to carry out an inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

The desire to avoid an inquiry continued to this day, Mr Ahern told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Following numerous conversations, Mr Blair had been persuaded to “look at a lot of things” including an inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

Mr Ahern said he had asked Mr Blair “many times” if the collusion in the case of Mr Finucane “went to the top, to the political level” and was reassured by Mr Blair that it did not.

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Mr Ahern said he had no doubt that in the case of Mr Finucane there had been “extraordinary collusion” involving the army, the RUC and the security forces.

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While he accepted that there could not be full inquiries in all cases, there was a clear case of the need for a public inquiry into the case of Mr Finucane.

Yesterday, the UK government confirmed it would not be seeking an inquiry in the killing of Mr Finucane.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he was not taking a public inquiry off the table but said further examinations of the case by police and a police watchdog should conclude first.

Mr Finucane's family, including his wife, Geraldine and son, Sinn Féin MP John Finucane are now going to seek support from US president-elect Joe Biden who previously supported calls for an inquiry when he was chair of the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

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