herald

Monday 17 December 2018

Murdered solicitor's son could be Sinn Fein Presidential candidate

John Finucane, son of murdered Pat Finucane
John Finucane, son of murdered Pat Finucane

John Finucane, the son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane, is the latest name to emerge as a possible candidate for the Presidency.

According to Sinn Fein sources, he is now one of the favourites within the party to seek its candidacy.

Mr Finucane is a solicitor with his own firm and the brother of civil rights lawyer Michael Finucane.

The former Antrim goalkeeper is 38, the same age as his father Pat was when he was shot dead by masked loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife Geraldine and their three children at their Belfast home in February 1989.

"It'd be great if he would be up for it, but I think the nature of the race might turn him off," said one Sinn Fein source.

Support

Another senior party member told the Herald: "I'd back him if he agrees to run. He'd be a great candidate."

He came within 2,000 votes of winning the North Belfast seat from DUP stalwart Nigel Dodds during the UK election last year.

If elected, he would have become the first nationalist MP for North Belfast.

He added 6,000 votes to Gerry Kelly's total from 2015 and increased the party's share by 8pc.

"He had to attract support from the SDLP and Protestants in order for him to have got that number of votes," said another party member, who is also supporting Mr Finucane.

Sinn Fein announced it is to contest the Presidential election following a meeting of the party's Ard Comhairle which took place on Saturday.

A committee has now been put in place to field candidates, chaired by Waterford TD David Cullinane.

Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan ruled herself out of the race yesterday but said she gave it "serious thought" after many members had called upon her to run.

However, her Brussels colleague Liadh Ni Riada, who is the Sinn Fein MEP for Ireland South, has not done so yet.

Ms Ni Riada is a native Irish speaker, who served on the board tasked with setting up TG4.

She has strong cultural links as the youngest daughter of Irish composer and musician Sean O Riada.

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