THE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS INQUEST (1974): THE EVIDENCE OF WITNESS O
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.
Following the evidence of former IRA Director of Intelligence Kieran Conway yesterday, this morning the Birmingham Pub Bombing Inquest (1974) heard from former IRA member Witness O, speaking on a live video link.
Witness O said he had been given permission to speak openly about the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 by the current head of the IRA. He approached the IRA approximately six months ago.
Before the pub bombings he was on remand at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham for terrorist related offences involving fire bombs. He is reported to have been overheard saying ‘Birmingham is going to be hit’.
Under examination by Peter Skelton QC for the Coroner and then Leslie Thomas QC and Kevin Morgan, for those represented by KRW, Witness O named Mick Murray, Seamus McLoughlin, Mick Hayes, James Gavin as being responsible for the bombings. He also named two men known to him only as “Socks” and another man known as “Dublin Dave”. Witness O was pressed regarding the role in the bombings of Michael Patrick Reilly, an alleged perpetrator whose name is in the public domain, but was unable to confirm his identity.
He was told by Mick Murray and Seamus McLaughlin that they were responsible. Mick Murray showed no remorse about the bombings. He also said to Witness O that a warning had been given an hour before the bombings and that the Security Service (MI5) had not acted upon it and therefore they bore responsibility. Witness O disagreed with the killing of civilians because it was ‘bad publicity for the IRA’ and that the bombings were ‘a frightener’ but were not meant to kill civilians despite the known risk to him and others in the IRA in Birmingham. He explained the bombing campaign was a response to British actions in Northern Ireland.
The question now remains that the names of the alleged perpetrators, based on the evidence of both Kieran Conway, Witness O together with those names already in the public domain – 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 in Birmingham, Belfast and Dublin?