Sinn Fein president says existence of files on murder of Finucane, who was shot dead in 1989 by loyalist gunmen working with members of the security forces, is significant Gerry Adams on Monday welcomed the disclosure that MI5 is prepared to hand over files on one of the most high-profile murders during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The Sinn Fein president said the existence of MI5 files on the murder of Pat Finucane, the civil rights lawyer who was shot dead in 1989 by loyalist gunmen working with members of the security forces, could be significant.

“The assertion that MI5 were prepared to disclose files on Pat Finucane is a more pertinent story,” Adams told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Ulster as he dismissed separate claims in the US embassy cables about his alleged links with the IRA.

“I do not speak for the family but if there is any credibility in the report from the MI5 chiefs that they are prepared to disclose files this is proof that they have files and those files should of course be disclosed, as the family have been campaigning for a long time.” Adams was speaking after Finucane’s supporters welcomed the revelation of the MI5 offer as “highly significant”. They believe it could help pave the way for a fresh inquiry that would be acceptable to the family.

Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland secretary, is due to decide in the new year whether to hold a full public inquiry into the murder of Finucane, who was shot dead in front of his wife and three young children in 1989 by gunmen from the Ulster Freedom Fighters. The loyalists were aided by members of the security forces.

Adams also hit out at Bertie Ahern, the former Irish prime minister, who is reported in the cables as saying that the Sinn Fein president and his colleague Martin McGuinness negotiated with him to save the Northern Ireland peace process while knowing that the IRA was planning to carry out the biggest bank robbery in its history in December 2004. Adams said the claims were “reprehensible”.

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