North Belfast priest: Finucane family deserve the truth, but so do all other paramilitary victims

A north Belfast Catholic priest says he believes the family of Pat Finucane are entitled to the truth – but all the other victims of paramilitaries are too.

Gary Donegan
Gary Donegan

Father Gary Donegan spoke to the News Letter after days of statements from republicans, nationalists, and the Alliance Party, decrying the UK government’s refusal to order another investigation into the north Belfast solicitor’s shooting.

The case of the murdered lawyer, whose 1989 killing is widely understood to have involved collusion between security forces and the UDA, has been the subject of three reviews by senior justice figures, has seen one man convicted of murder, and led to a formal apology from David Cameron in 2012.

But has not been made the subject of a full public inquiry (which would have the power to compel witnesses and hold public hearings).

The book Lost Lives says Pat Finucane was the 3,012th person murdered in the Troubles, with several hundred more killed after that.

Father Donegan (now living in Crossgar, but whose name became synonymous with north Belfast due to his mediation efforts in the Twaddell dispute, and who maintains an office there) told the News Letter he had hoped the Finucanes would get an inquiry – but that “a similar justice should be afforded to everyone”.

He said the Finucane case is “very well-documented” and that collusion has been officially acknowledged.

“Whereas there’s a lot of other situations that deserve the same level of justice but unfortunately the truth isn’t actually out there,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the exact same scrutiny should come with all cases. The same vigour and the same justice should be applied across the board.

“The scales of justice should not be weighed one way or the other; they should be straight down the line.”

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