Irish Republican News · November 23, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Call for Birmingham Six apology

The British government has been urged to apologise to the six men wrongfully convicted for the Birmingham bombings.

Thirty years ago, at the height of the conflict in the North, bomb attacks in Birmingham on pubs frequented by British military personnel killed 21 people and injured almost 200 people -- almost all innocent civilians.

The apparently random attacks fuelled anti-Irish sentiment in England and resulted in a major miscarriage of justice.

The six Irishmen who were jailed for the bombings were released in March 1991 following a long campaign for their freedom.

One of the jailed men, John Walker, said it was time the British government publicly acknowledged their innocence.

“Nobody ever apologised to us. We’ve done 16 and a half years.

“What happened 30 years ago was a disaster. People say 21 people lost their lives that day. What about the six men who went to prison? We lost our lives also.”

Mr Walker said the British government had not apologised for their years of incarceration.

“I felt sorry for what happened in Birmingham that night but people must remember I’ve done 16 and a half years in prison for something I did not do,” he added.

The Provisional IRA has never claimed responsibility for the bombs.

Dungannon priest Monsignor Denis Faul said that the IRA should apologise for the bombs.

“A lot of young people were killed in Birmingham. It is important that there should be an apology for that. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

A Sinn Féin spokesman said: “What happened in Birmingham 30 years ago was wrong and should not have happened.”

He added republicans were committed to the establishment of a process that would address the demands and concerns of victims of the conflict on all sides.

“The IRA for their part have apologised for the deaths of non-combatants resulting from their actions.

“If issues relating to the IRA concerning the Birmingham bombings are still to be addressed then it is very clearly the Sinn Féin position that this should happen.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News