Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989)
Today we remember Pat Finucane. Pat was a Belfast solicitor and human rights activist who came to prominence when he successfully challenged the British Government over several high profile human rights cases during the 1980s.
On this day in 1989, two gunmen knocked down his front door with a sledgehammer and entered the kitchen where Finucane had been having a Sunday meal with his family. They immediately opened fire and shot him twice, knocking him to the floor. Then while standing over him, the leading gunman fired 12 bullets into his face at close range. His wife Geraldine was wounded and their three children witnessed the scene.
Finucane's killing caused outrage across Ireland and internationally. It was widely suspected by human rights groups to have been perpetrated in collusion with officers of the RUC (Northern Ireland Police) and the British State.
In June 2005, the then Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland that “everyone knows” the British government was involved in the murder of Pat Finucane. On 17 May 2006, the United States House of Representatives then passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into Finucane's murder. Although a Public inquiry was refused, on 12 December 2012, the government released the 'Pat Finucane Review'. Which admitted the British State had colluded in the murder of Pat Finucane. Prime Minister Cameron acknowledged "shocking levels of collusion" and issued an apology to his family.
Finucane's law firm, Madden & Finucane Solicitors, led by Peter Madden, continues to act for those it considers to have been victims of mistreatment by the State, or their survivors. The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), named in his honour, is a human rights advocacy and lobbying entity in Northern Ireland.