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PSNI to probe lawyer over 'I fought for Provos' admission

By Jonny Bell

Published 04/11/2016

Former IRA member Kieran Conway
Former IRA member Kieran Conway
ACC Mark Hamilton

Police are examining claims made by former IRA man turned lawyer Kieran Conway of involvement in operations for the terrorist organisation during the Troubles.

Conway, who admitted in his autobiography Southside Provisional that he was a Provo for more than 20 years, revealed last week that he took part in fatal gun attacks.

The Dubliner further claimed he was involved in carrying out "five or six" bombings.

The former IRA intelligence officer, speaking on Tuesday's Stephen Nolan Show, also admitted being involved in gun battles in which British soldiers were killed - but said he could not be sure if it was his bullets which were responsible.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, head of the PSNI's Legacy and Justice Department, said: "We are currently examining everything that has been said by Mr Conway in order to ascertain what investigative opportunities will be progressed.

"Where appropriate, all actions will be considered if the evidence exists to do so."

The Department of Justice said the revelations were a matter for the police.

A spokesman said: "Whilst the Justice Minister cannot comment on specific cases or allegations, she would encourage anyone with information that would help resolve outstanding legacy cases to provide that information to the relevant authorities."

Earlier this week Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey said that investigations into legacy cases from the Troubles would be brought into "disrepute" if the authorities did not attempt to question Conway over his activities. Speaking this week, Conway outlined how he planted a "small number of bombs" in commercial premises.

"You would have been concerned there would be no civilians injured and then ensure your own safety in getting away, and in that order," he added.

"It was IRA procedure to give warnings. There were mistakes, for example in Birmingham, Coleraine, Claudy."

On deaths of innocent people during the Troubles, Conway said it was "unfortunate".

"That's what happens in war or revolution," he added. "It was a just war that ended in total defeat for us."

In taking part in armed robberies, he said he had some regret at pointing a gun at a bank cashier.

Conway also said he could not be extradited for questioning as there was "no evidence" against him, despite his admissions. He added that while he knew those involved in the Birmingham pub bombings, in which 21 died, he had no intention of "fingering" IRA men.

"They would have to prosecute me for crimes against a person unknown, in a place unknown and at a time unknown, which would be a stretch even for the British justice system," he said.

"They have no evidence unless I make a confession, which I won't be doing."

The lawyer also said the Kingsmills massacre was "most definitely a war crime", as too was using people for proxy bombs and killing Protestants in retaliation for Catholic murders.

"I have no guilt," he said.

"What I do have is a huge general remorse for all that were killed. This was a conflict not worth a drop of blood."

Belfast Telegraph

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