THE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS INQUEST (1974): THE EVIDENCE OF KIERAN CONWAY
KRW LAW LLP represent ten of the families of victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 in the resumed inquests into the deaths of their loved ones.
Today our clients heard the Director of Intelligence for the IRA at the time of the bombings, Kieran Conway, admitting from a live video link from Ireland, that he knew the names of those who were responsible for the bombings but would not name them. He said their names were well known to the authorities. He did name Mick Murray and James Galvin as being responsible as they are now dead.
He repeatedly refused to admit that the Birmingham pub bombings was the murder of 21 people, despite using that word in a police interview in 2016, but that the they were an IRA bombing campaign that had gone wrong. They were, according to Kieran Conway, accidental. Kieran Conway practices as a criminal defence solicitor in Dublin.
He described his reaction to the ‘atrocity’ as being ashamed, of being angry and appalled. But he described how an internal IRA inquiry did not find responsibility for the bombings and accepted the excuse that a warning was not given in time because there were no working telephone boxes in the vicinity because of vandalism.
This was despite an apparently clear IRA policy not to bomb civilian targets. Mr Conway was pushed on his own criminal activities in England when he was responsible for a number of bank robberies and wages snatches, armed and masked, and involving civilian employees. He was later jailed in Northern Ireland for arms offences, including handling explosives.
This is probably the first time a senior and long serving IRA member has described the fact that despite an immediate internal admission of responsibility for the bombings within the IRA, it was years later that the IRA accepted responsibility.
The question now remains that if the authorities know the names of the perpetrators – an issue which is not within the scope of the inquest – what criminal investigations and prosecutorial decisions are being undertaken and what actions will be taken by the police and prosecutors?