Irish Republican News · February 1, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Blair to apologise for miscarriage of justice

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to issue a public apology for the wrongful imprisonment of Gerry Conlon - one of the Guildford Four - and his father, Giuseppe Conlon.

The Conlons were among a wave of Irish wrongly convicted in England of involvement with the IRA at the height of the conflict in the North of Ireland in 1974.

Mr Conlon and his late father Giuseppe were both jailed in a notorious miscarriage of justice, but their sentences were quashed in 1989. Giuseppe died in prison in 1980 while serving his sentence.

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy said he thought Mr Blair would respond to a campaign by the Conlon for a full public apology.

“He has already written, of course, to the family expressing his view that there was a very serious miscarriage of justice, he very much regrets that, and that he is very sorry for the hurt and suffering of the family,” he said.

“I have no doubt that if asked the same in public he would make a similar public apology.”

“There are all sorts of ways in which that can happen but I am sure he will talk to the taoiseach on Tuesday, the taoiseach will raise it and they can work it out from there.”

Mr Conlon welcomed Mr Murphy’s comments. Speaking on BBC Radio on Monday, he said that even after their release there had been a “whispering campaign” that they had been let out on technicalities.

“My father always thought we had been sacrificial lambs to the judiciary to take pressure off the British police who at that time, for whatever reason, were ignoring all the evidence that pointed to other people who had bombed Guildford and were attacking parts of London and my father needed his name cleared.

“I think Tony Blair should stand at the despatch box and issue a public apology hopefully to the family who will be in the Houses of Parliament when he does issue that apology,” he said.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern met the family last week and has said he will raise the issue of a public apology when he meets Mr Blair on Tuesday.

The case was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film ‘In The Name Of The Father’.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News