The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said he is determined to get to the bottom of the allegations of collusion raised in last night's BBC Panorama programme.

The Tánaiste earlier told the Dáil she shares Opposition concerns about allegations of collusion between the security forces in the North and paramilitaries in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989.

Mary Harney said the allegations that elements within the RUC Special Branch planned and facilitated the murder in 1989, were contained in a file presented to the Irish Government in 1999.

Ms Harney said, since then, the Government had been convinced of the need for a public inquiry into those allegations. She was replying to Opposition questions in the House.

The family of the murdered Belfast solicitor renewed their calls for an independent judicial inquiry into his killing.

Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, said it was difficult to think of anything more serious that government involvement in the murder of its own citizens.

Retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory, is examining the Finucane case as one of six controversial killings before making recommendations on a judicial inquiry to the British and Irish governments.

The North's First Minister insisted there was no official collusion by members of the security forces, but individual police officers and British soldiers have colluded with paramilitaries on certain occasions.

Speaking on BBC radio during his first official visit to Scotland, David Trimble said it was best to wait for the results of the Stevens Inquiry into allegations of security force collusion with Loyalists.

The North's Deputy First Minister, Mark Durkan, said the case for an independent inquiry was now beyond question.