General election 2017: Pat Finucane's son set to stand

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Image source, Press Eye
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John Finucane said he was proud to have been nominated as a Sinn Féin candidate

A son of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is set to stand as a Sinn Féin candidate in June's general election.

John Finucane has been nominated to run in North Belfast by senior MLAs Gerry Kelly and Carál Ní Chuilín.

The move sets up a battle with the Democratic Unionist Party's deputy leader Nigel Dodds for the constituency's Westminster seat.

Loyalist paramilitaries killed John Finucane's father in what was one of the most controversial Troubles deaths.

Pat Finucane was shot dead, aged 39, in front of his wife and three children at their home in February 1989.

He had represented a number of high-profile IRA prisoners, some of whom had taken part in hunger strikes at the Maze Prison in 1981.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalists in front of his wife and children in 1989

The Ulster Freedom Fighters later admitted carrying out the murder and there were long-standing allegations that members of the UK security forces colluded in his killing.

In 2012, then prime minister David Cameron said the level of state collusion uncovered by a review of the murder was "shocking".

Analysis: Stephen Walker, BBC News NI political correspondent

This is an unexpected decision by Sinn Féin.

John Finucane is well known in legal circles and is no stranger to the media, having been a campaigner for some time.

This is his first step into electoral politics, so he is untried and untested from that point of view, but it puts the focus on legacy issues in a very tight constituency.

Nigel Dodds of the DUP is defending the seat and is confident of retaining it. There is no Ulster Unionist candidate.

The SDLP have not announced their candidate, but it is expected to be Nichola Mallon.

In a tweet on Tuesday, John Finucane said he was "very proud to have been nominated" to run in next month's poll.

He is a partner at the Finucane Toner law firm in Belfast and has campaigned along with his family for a public inquiry into his father's murder.

Mr Kelly said he was "confident that in John Finucane we can return a nationalist MP for the first time in the history of North Belfast".

"Between now and 8 June we will be pulling out all the stops to make this possible," he added.

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