Prime Minister Blair apology over IRA bomb jailings

February 9, 2005

Tony Blair has apologised to two families who suffered one of the UK’s biggest miscarriages of justice. The prime minister was commenting on the wrongful jailing of 11 people for IRA bomb attacks on pubs in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974. Mr Blair said: “I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and injustice.” He made the apology to members of the Conlon and Maguire families in his private room at Westminster. In a statement recorded for television, Mr Blair said the families deserved “to be completely and publicly exonerated”. The families had hoped the apology would be made during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. However, one of the so-called Guildford Four, Gerry Conlon – who was wrongly convicted of planting the bombs – said the families were delighted with the apology. He said Mr Blair had spoken with “such sincerity”, adding: “He went beyond what we thought he would, he took time to listen to everyone. “You could see he was moved by what people were saying. “Tony Blair has healed rifts, he is helping to heal wounds. It’s a day I never thought would come.”

BBC Nothern Ireland

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