Sinn Féin's John Finucane, son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucance, has been elected as Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Pat Finucane, 39, was shot dead by loyalists in front of his wife and children in 1989.

His wife Geraldine was wounded in the attack, while John and his sister Katherine and brother Michael hid under a table as their father was shot 14 times.

The family's legal battle with the British government for a full public inquiry into the killing continues.

An investigation by former UN war crimes prosecutor Desmond de Silva QC found "shocking" levels of state collusion involving the army, police and MI5, but ruled out an "overarching state conspiracy" in the attack.

Earlier this month Mr Finucane won a council seat as a Sinn Féin candidate and later this evening in Belfast he is expected to be elected the city's Lord Mayor.

Although Sinn Féin lost one of its 19 seats, with 18 representatives it is the largest party on the 60 member City Council. 

Like his late father and brother Michael, Mr Finucane is a solicitor.

His medium-term ambition may involve the North Belfast Westminster seat currently held by the DUP's Nigel Dodds.  

The gap between them in the 2017 general election was 2,081 votes.

Mr Finucane urged unionists to judge him with an open mind, as he highlighted his family links to the Orange Order and British military.

"I am the product of an east Belfast mother who grew up in a middle class unionist area and a west Belfast father who grew up in a Catholic working class area," Mr Finucane, said as he formally began his year in office.

"I live and have grown up in north Belfast, I have seen both sides of this city.

"I am a republican, I have family members who are unionist, I have family members who are neither of the two, and I think that diversity can only make our city stronger, because certainly I have felt the benefit of that particular upbringing.

"I feel very comfortable in my own politics, that it doesn't cause me any discomfort to go into areas, where I have been invited, to go into areas and show that a Sinn Fein mayor is not something to be feared.

"Because first and foremost, especially given my own personal background, I know that we need representation that represents everybody, and we can't be partial.

"I appreciate that is me setting out my stall at the start of the year, but I ask people to certainly treat me with an open mind, because I am coming at this to very much represent everybody in Belfast, and I think there will be opportunities that present themselves and I don't think I will be found wanting."

Additional reporting: PA