Belfast Telegraph

Calls for police action after IRA men accused of carrying out Birmingham pub bombings

Birmingham pub bombings
Birmingham pub bombings

Politicians have called on police to act after four people were named at an inquest into the Birmingham pub bombings as being responsible for the atrocity.

A total of 21 people were killed and more than 220 were injured in the 1974 IRA attack at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs in the city.

On Friday, a former IRA member identified as Witness O told the inquest he had been given permission by the head of the IRA in Dublin to name those involved.

He named Seamus McLoughlan as the officer commanding (OC) of the Birmingham IRA at the time and as the person responsible for selecting the targets.

Witness O also named Michael Hayes, Mick Murray and James Gavin as members of the bombing team.

The four men have previously been named in connection to the bombings, however not in a formal setting.

Ulster Unionist justice spokesperson Doug Beattie called on police to act on the claims made at the inquest.

"Given that numerous Sinn Fein politicians have claimed that there is no IRA, you wonder just who is in sitting Dublin, claiming to be the head of it?" he said.

"The PSNI and the Garda need to give an assessment of this claim as a matter of urgency.

"Secondly, if any of these people named are still alive - and I understand at least one is - then they are liable to prosecution.

"If Soldier F can be lined up for prosecution for alleged offences in Londonderry in 1972 then so can alleged IRA members for alleged offences in Birmingham in 1974. That’s what is meant by equality before the law."

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "The PSNI have previously indicated that the IRA exists but is not involved in paramilitary activity. That stands in stark contrast to the assertions of Sinn Fein.

"Mary Lou McDonald needs to explain how the head of the IRA in Dublin can give “permission” for an individual to be named, when she tells us the IRA doesn’t exist."

On Friday, Witness O also claimed he had given Seamus McLoughlan's name to police in the days after the bombings, but heard nothing more on the matter.

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