Northern Ireland

Owen Paterson decision on Pat Finucane inquiry delayed

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

The secretary of state has said he will take another two months to decide if 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 security forces.

Owen Paterson said that, with the agreement of the family, he had decided to consult further on whether an inquiry was in the public interest.

Mr Paterson met the Finucane family in November. Afterwards, he said he would be considering a number of matters including potential cost, previous reviews and investigations into the case and the possible length of an inquiry.

In 2004, Mr Paterson's predecessor Paul Murphy announced his intention to hold an inquiry under the new Inquiries Act.

The Finucane family are opposed to the probe being held under this legislation, which they say makes the inquiry accountable to the minister responsible rather than to parliament.

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

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