Irish Republican News · March 20, 2006
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Birmingham Six man seeks apology

One of the Birmingham Six has promised to launch legal action against the British government unless he gets a public apology.

Paddy Hill -- who was released from prison 15 years ago this week -- slammed British Prime Minister Tony Blair for not acknowledging their plight despite apologising to the families of Gerry Conlon and Annie McGuire last year following a newspaper campaign.

Like the Birmingham Six, Mr Conlon and Mr McGuire had been wrongfully convicted for IRA bomb attacks in England in the 1970s. They served 15 years in prison.

Legal proceedings will also be taken over the British government’s failure to reintegrate the men back into society, according to Mr Hill, who runs the ‘Miscarriage of Justice’ organisation from his Scottish home.

“I have no idea why [Mr Blair] left us out,” Mr Hill, above, said. He told Irish radio the past 15 years had been very hard, but he thought little of the anniversary of his release.

“I’ll never forget what happened to me and I never forget when we were looking for help everybody slammed the door in our faces,” Mr Hill said.

“People have this perception that we came out and got a load of money and everybody kisses and makes up and we all ride in to the sunset. Unfortunately it’s nothing like that.”

In Lancaster in 1975, the six Birmingham-based Irishmen - Paddy Hill, Bill Power, Dick McIlkenny, Hugh Callaghan, Gerry Hunter and John Walker - were sentenced to life imprisonment for a Birmingham bombing which killed 21 people and maimed or seriously injured 161.

Despite pleas that the confessions had been obtained because of beatings by warders and ill treatment, the case was initially upheld on appeal. The men were eventually freed on March 14 1991.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News