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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 09:49 GMT
Congressman in inquiries appeal
Pat Finucane
US congressman is concerned about inquiry into Pat Finucane's murder
A senior US politician has called on Tony Blair to abandon plans for a new law on public inquiries.

Congressman Chris Smith said proposals to hear some evidence in private would prevent an open inquiry into the 1989 murder of the solicitor Pat Finucane.

Speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics, Mr Smith said the government should give the Finucanes and other families what they had been promised.

"That is to have this public inquiry without this new legislation," he said.

Mr Smith said this had been promised in the Weston Park talks of 2001.

The new legislation is to come about as a result of the Inquiries Bill which was published at the end of last year.

Last week the judge who investigated allegations of collusion in the murder of Mr Finucane - who was shot dead by the UDA - criticised the law changes.

Judge Peter Cory told a Washington committee chaired by Mr Smith the new legislation "would make a meaningful inquiry impossible".

"It really creates an intolerable Alice in Wonderland situation," Judge Cory said.

Following the publication of the Inquiries Bill the Northern Ireland Office said nothing would be withheld from the inquiries.

However, it said some evidence would have to be considered in private.

Finucanes criticise inquiry terms
26 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland
Cory 'disappointed' over inquiry
05 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
Finucane inquest 'must be public'
09 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland

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