John Finucane was elected as the Member of Parliament for North Belfast in 2019 with a total vote of 23,078. He surpassed his nearest rival by 1,943 votes, a majority of 4%.
Like all politicians, John is firstly representing his party, in this case, Sinn Fein and their manifesto as presented and mandated by the electorate.
He then represents the people of his constituency both those who voted for him and all others, who live and work within the constituency boundaries.
In his capacity as a representative of the people, John attended a public protest called by residents to highlight illegal fly-tipping, at a local industrial site, Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road, that was endangering the community with disease through the attraction of rats and flies, as well as exuding noxious gases.
Many MP’s can expect a gracious reception of bonhomie, smiles and words of welcome. Perhaps a few requests for selfies, further enticements to support the cause and a soundbite or two with photos for the local assembled press?
Well, it appears that is not to be the case, on the sectarian streets of North Belfast.
The local MP was met with rancour, a cold shoulder and it was claimed by some, that he was asked to leave by shadowy figures connected to a local loyalist terror gang?
John’s father ‘Pat Finucane’ a well known Belfast human rights lawyer, had been threatened on many occasions because of his chosen profession, was shot dead in his own home, murdered in front of his wife and children on February 12, 1989, as they sat down to Sunday tea.
Some accusations persist to this day, that Pat was murdered with the collusion of the police, the security services and that his death was sanctioned at the highest levels within the British government.
Pat was gunned down by members of the Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist, a terrorist paramilitary organisation, which is proscribed, illegal by the Brtish government.
In 2004 Ken Barret a member of the UDA and police informer pleaded guilty to the murder.
In 2012 the then Prime Minister David Cameron responding to the De Silva Enquiry apologised to the Finucane family admitting that the police, special branch and MI5 were complicit in his murder.
Part of the statements given by David Cameron before Parliament states.
‘I would like to make a statement on Sir Desmond de Silva’s report into the nature and extent of state collusion in the murder of Patrick Finucane.
Mr Speaker, the murder of Patrick Finucane in his home in North Belfast on Sunday 12th February 1989 was an appalling crime.
He was shot 14 times as he sat down for dinner with his wife and three children.
He died in front of them.
His wife, Geraldine, was injured too’
‘It sets out the extent of collusion in areas such as identifying, targeting and murdering Mr Finucane, supplying a weapon and facilitating its later disappearance and deliberately obstructing subsequent investigations.’
David Cameron has apologised to the Finucane family for the state involvement in his murder.
That admission is not sufficient and his apology does not go far enough.
Only the full disclosure of all the facts will do.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
I feel sure many of the residents protesting on the Crumlin Road recently would have welcomed their local MP’s intervention and support but shadowy figures connected to the proscribed Ulster Volunteer Force, another loyalist paramilitary terrorist organisation had other ideas.
Prevented from showing solidarity with his constituents John Finucane MP had to leave the area amid concern for his safety.
We have travelled 31 years from Pat Finucane’s murder.
We have travelled less than two miles from the spot where Pat was cruelly and cynically murdered for defending his clients to where his son John was threatened.
We have travelled only centimetres in the politics of inclusion in North Belfast.
Who would have believed 31 years after the murder of his father by the Ulster Defence Association,that his son an elected Member of Parliament, would be forced to extricate himself from danger under threat from people aligned to the Ulster Volunteer Force?
I respect John for attending the rally and supporting the ordinary people of the Shankill and Woodvale Roads in their search for a resolution to the ongoing effects of illegal dumping.
I condemn those who chose, for their own short-sighted political advantage to intimidate John and prevent him from representing his constituents.
I would call on John to show solidarity with all his constituents to include those in the New Lodge Road area who annually must contend with an illegal bonfire, placed by loyalists at a flashpoint interface, leading to intercommunal violence, arrests, charges and prosecutions for the young children and teenagers of the New Lodge Road and surrounding districts.
Let’s represent all the constituents, John.
Let’s do exactly what it says on the tin.
Let’s lead the call to end illegal dumping.
Let’s lead the call to end provocative, sectarian, illegal, bonfires placed strategically to cause maximum disruption and offence to neighbouring communities.
Let’s be a real politician.
Let’s be real a activist striving to create a better world for everyone.
Perhaps a seed was sown that awful day 31 years ago.
It has borne fruit.
The son of a murdered human rights lawyer is now the MP for North Belfast.
Pat Finucane’s legacy is to be found in his children and his widow Geraldine , who are determined to continue their fight for truth and justice.
Does it look like John Finucane is determined to fight for all his constituents?
Yes, it does.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.