Secretary of State due to decide on Finucane inquiry

Pat Finucane Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist terrorists in front of his family in 1989

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The secretary of state has said he will decide in the new year whether there should be a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

The solicitor was shot dead by loyalist terrorists at his Belfast home in 1989.

His family believe that his death was the result of collusion with elements of the British state.

Mr Paterson met the Finucane family in November. He said he would be considering a number of public interest matters including potential cost.

Pat Finucane's wife Geraldine said she had received a "detailed" letter from Mr Paterson on Thursday morning and would respond once she had discussed the contents with her family.

Mr Paterson said he would consider the family's representations to him as well as a number of other factors including:

  • the commitment given by previous Secretary of State Paul Murphy in 2004 to hold an inquiry
  • the conclusions of reviews and investigations into the case and the extent to which they had caused public concern
  • the experience of other inquiries established in recent years
  • delays since the 2004 announcement and the potential length of any inquiry
  • political developments since 2004
  • potential costs

A number of inquiries have been carried out following the last government's pledge, including probes into the murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and LVF leader Billy Wright.

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