Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the Government supports a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane.

The Belfast solicitor was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries at his north Belfast home in front of his three children and his wife, Geraldine, who was also injured during the attack.

He was responding to a question from Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald during Order of Business this afternoon in the Dáil.

Pat Finucane's widow 'optimistic' that inquiry will take place

Ms McDonald pointed out "the Programme for Government commits to supporting the establishment of a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane almost 30 years ago.

"Today Pat's wife Geraldine and her family are in the British Supreme Court in an attempt to compel the British Government to fulfil their obligation as agreed at Weston Park in 2001 and that is to hold a public inquiry." 

She added that in 2001 there was agreement from the government to examine four cases, between the two governments, three of these inquiries have taken place, the Pat Finucane inquiry has not.

The Sinn Féin President said the de Silva report published in December 2012 revealed the shocking scale of collusion between the British state and paramilitaries. 

She said that all of this serves to reinforce the need for an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. She said "his family have campaigned very long and very hard with great dignity and it is now time the British government stepped forward and met its obligations." 

The Taoiseach said that "it is absolutely the Government's position that there should be a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.

"I understand the UK Supreme Court is hearing a case on that now, which I would be best not to comment on. But we do believe that there should be an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane." 

He said the Tánaiste Simon Coveney is due to meet with the family soon and it is something that they will continue to raise with the British government.