Hibernians express 'outrage' over Finucane decision

Ambassador Karen Pierce


By Irish Echo Staff

In a letter to the UK Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, and copied to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, the Ancient Order of Hibernians have expressed their outrage at the decision by the British government not to pursue an open inquiry into the assassination of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane - this despite the admission by the UK of "shocking levels of collusion" by government entities.

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The letter states: "We write to you, Ambassador Pierce, as members of the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish American organization in the United States, to express our indignation at the decision not to pursue an open inquiry into the assassination of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

We find it an oxymoron that Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis can both apologize for the murder of Mr. Finucane and reiterate the admission of 'shocking levels of collusion' by UK government entities while simultaneously ignoring international appeals, including a letter signed by 24 members of the U.S. Congress, for a full and open inquiry.

"We find Secretary Lewis' claim that the decision not to pursue an open inquiry is due to concerns of interfering with investigations by the Ombudsman and the PSNI disingenuous to the point of insulting the world's intelligence. The Ombudsman has publicly stated they have no plans regarding the Finucane case, and PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has said that there are 'currently no new lines of inquiry.' We can only conclude that either Secretary Lewis is completely disconnected from Northern Ireland reality or completely duplicitous.

"We note the stark contrast between the decision not to pursue an inquiry into the Finucane case and the British government's reaction to the attempted assassination by Russian intelligence agents of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

"We specifically note the comments made by Jeremy Fleming, Director of Britain's intelligence organization GCHQ, that '[Russia is] not playing to the same rules, they're blurring the boundaries between criminal and state activity.'

"We find the hypocrisy of Britain denouncing Russia for 'blurring the boundaries between criminal and state activity' while covering up their own admitted 'shocking levels of collusion' in the assassination of a civil rights lawyer, and the wounding of his wife by their own security forces, to be unprecedented.

"Since after three decades, and despite numerous commitments under internationally recognized treaty, the UK continues to ignore its responsibilities to the Finucanes and the other victims of 'the Troubles,' the members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians are committed to working with members of the U.S. Congress and Senate to hold the UK accountable.

"The Hibernians remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"

The letter to Ambassador Pierce is signed by AOH National President Daniel J. O’Connell, Political Action Chair Neil F. Cosgrove, and Freedom for All Ireland Chair Martin Galvin.