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Pat Finucane

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 15 September 2010

7. Whether he has met the family of Pat Finucane to offer an inquiry into his death; and if he will make a statement. (14508)

I met the family of Pat Finucane while in opposition. On becoming Secretary of State, I wrote to the family and invited them to meet me.

Will the Secretary of State elucidate the questions that were put to him by the family at that meeting?

The meeting that I had with them in opposition was some time ago. I have a meeting planned shortly and I think that it is appropriate, as I have said on several occasions, that I talk to the families before pronouncing further. The hon. Gentleman knows from his time as a Minister in Northern Ireland how sensitive and difficult this issue is, which is why it was not resolved by his Government.

Surely the Secretary of State will realise that, rather than individual inquiries, it would be better to put the resources into the Historical Enquiries Team so as to allow a swathe of the people who have been injured and who suffered through the tragedies of Northern Ireland’s years of terrorism to find answers to their questions.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. The Historical Enquiries team is looking at 3,268 deaths on a budget that was originally set at £34 million over six years. We must contrast that with the Billy Wright inquiry on which I reported yesterday, which cost £30 million and looked into one death.