A rift is growing between the Irish and British governments over the refusal to mount a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane by loyalist paramilitaries.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore has met with the Finucane family and offered them the full support of his government and their legal team in their battle for justice.
Labor Party leader Gilmore also admitted to the media after his meeting with the family that the Irish government is none too please with British PM David Caeron’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the murder.
Gilmore revealed there have been ‘frank disagreements’ on the subject between the two governments. He also acknowledged that the Dublin cabinet is ‘disappointed’ with Cameron’s decision to hold a review of the case.
A meeting between the Finucane family and British PM Cameroon ended abruptly last week when he announced the review rather than the public inquiry the family is demanding. Speaking after the Dublin talks with the family, Gilmore said: “What I asked the family to do was to have their legal representatives meet with officials of my department to put together the detail of the contacts that have taken place over the past number of months which led to last Tuesday’s meeting.
“That will form the basis of the formal response which the Irish Government will give to the British government.
“There are sometimes occasions when frank disagreements arise between states. This is one, on this occasion.
“The Government is disappointed at what happened last Tuesday, we have already communicated that to our counterparts in the British government, and we will do so now on a more formal basis.”
Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine welcomed the meeting with the Irish deputy Prime Minister. She said: “We had a very positive meeting with the Tánaiste (deputy PM) and, in fact, he started off by saying it was a dark day for the family, a dark day for the country and a dark day for the rule of law.
“He has pledged continuing support from the Irish Government and I do believe that the Government are as upset about what happened on Tuesday as the family are.”
Her son Michael Finucane, himself a solicitor, said: “It was made clear that the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) made immediate contact with their counterparts in the British government after our meeting with David Cameron and both were unequivocal in their concern and expressing it to the British government.
“They are deeply unhappy about what has happened, not only because of what it has done to the family but also because of the significant diplomatic incident that it creates between the Irish and British governments.”