The controversial claim that a British mole knew that the deadly Birmingham pub bombings were going to take place is "very credible", the former head of IRA intelligence has said.
Kieran Conway, who ran the terrorist group's clandestine operations until 1975, said he had no first-hand knowledge that British security services had an informant in the Birmingham IRA, but said it had been happening in Northern Ireland at the time.
"It sounds very credible to me - it's the sort of thing they did in the North and I'd be inclined to agree with it," he said.
He has backed the victims' families' calls for new inquests to be held in order to answer any outstanding question over the claimed existence of an informant. The senior coroner for Birmingham will give a ruling on Wednesday on whether to hold new inquests.
Coroner Louise Hunt in February ordered West Midlands Police to hand over any information they had in connection with a central claim by some of the victims' families that the British security services knew the attacks were going to happen.
Relatives want fresh inquests to re-examine the events of the night of November 21, 1974, when two bomb blasts destroyed the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town in the worst act of terrorism in Britain until the London 7/7 bombings.
The twin devices killed 21 people and injured 182 others.
The men wrongly convicted over the attacks, known as the Birmingham Six, were freed by the Court of Appeal in 1991 and later awarded damages.