Belfast Telegraph

Foster and O'Neill to meet Birmingham pub bomb families

By Adrian Rutherford

Campaigners for people who died in the Birmingham pub bombings are travelling to Northern Ireland to meet with the DUP and Sinn Fein leadership this week.

A total of 21 people were killed in IRA explosions at two city centre pubs - the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town - in November 1974.

Representatives from the J4the21 (Justice for the 21) will travel to Belfast on Wednesday for talks with Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill.

The group said members would set out concerns that they have not been involved in the process around dealing with legacy issues.

In a statement, it said: "J4the21 consider it necessary to travel from Birmingham to Belfast to meet with the leaders of the two main political parties in order to convey how we feel excluded from the process for dealing with the past and the legacy of the conflict.

"J4the21 are travelling to Northern Ireland because our loved ones cannot, we are their voice in what we now understand is a protracted, contentious process that dealing with the past in Northern Ireland has become."

The group said it needed to address the "myth, rumour and unhelpful speculation" which has developed around the case.

It added: "We cannot allow rumours and myth to poison future generations and cause perpetual trauma to our families. Now is the time to deal with these difficult issues and we will not allow these issues to be passed on to another generation.

"Our demand is simple, that we have access to a human rights-compliant mechanism to establish how and in what circumstances our loved ones died, without having to continually be campaigning for access to truth, justice and accountability which adds to our continuing trauma, deep hurt and insult, feeding suspicion as to who carried out the murders of our loved ones.

"The day that the State allows impunity for murder by preventing its citizens from accessing such a truth-seeking process on behalf of their loved ones is a dangerous day for a democratic society.

"We therefore will engage in discussions in Belfast in the spirit of respect and with a hope that we may get some measure of assistance in our quest for a human rights-compliant legal process into how our loved ones died."

Six innocent men were wrongfully convicted over the Birmingham bombings, and no one has ever been brought to justice for the atrocities.

Belfast Telegraph

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