Ireland: Pat Finucane — time for truth


The statement below is abridged from an online petition calling for justice in the case Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, murdered 20 years ago by a death squad with links to the British state.

His killing was just one of hundreds at the hands of the British state and pro-British "loyalist" forces, as part of a decades-long campaign of terror that began in the late 1960s in the six counties that make up Northern Ireland directed at the Catholic and nationalist community.

The petition calls "on the British government to immediately initiate a fully independent, international public inquiry into Pat's murder". To sign the petition, go to

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Leading Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane (39) was shot dead by a loyalist death squad in front of his wife Geraldine and their three young children as they sat down to dinner on February 12, 1989.

Overwhelming evidence that the British state colluded extensively with Pat's killers has been revealed, but successive governments have for two decades blocked attempts by Pat's family to initiate a fully independent, international public inquiry into his assassination.

Pat's murder happened just weeks after British Home Office minister Douglas Hogg claimed in the British Parliament that some solicitors in the north of Ireland were "unduly sympathetic" to Irish republicans.

The extent of state collusion is illustrated by those involved in Pat's murder, such as the fact that the man who provided the intelligence for the killing was Brian Nelson, a British army agent.

The leader of the Ulster Defence Association group that carried out the killing was a Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch agent, Tommy Lyttle. The man who subsequently confessed to being the UDA gunman who killed Pat Finucane was Ken Barrett, also a Special Branch agent.

The UDA man who supplied the gun that killed Pat was William Stobie, a Special Branch agent — later killed in 2001 by the UDA when he threatened to lift the lid on the Finucane case.

Twenty years on, it's time for truth.