PM to apologise to Conlon family

Gerry Conlon is campaigning for a public apology

Tony Blair is to issue a public apology for the wrongful imprisonment of Gerry Conlon - one of the Guildford Four - and his father.

Five people were killed when the IRA planted a bomb in the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford in October 1974.

Mr Conlon and his late father Guiseppe were both jailed over the bombing.

Speaking on BBC's The Politics Show NI Secretary Paul Murphy said he thought Mr Blair would offer a public apology.

"He has already written of course to the family expressing his view that there was a very serious miscarriage of justice, he very much regrets that, and that he is very sorry for the hurt and suffering of the family," he said.

"I have no doubt that if asked the same in public he would make a similar public apology

Mr Murphy said that if asked, Mr Blair would make a public apology

"There are all sorts of ways in which that can happen but I am sure he will talk to the taoiseach on Tuesday, the taoiseach will raise it and they can work it out from there."

Mr Conlon was one of four people initially detained after the Guildford attack, which claimed the lives of four soldiers and a civilian.

The four jailed had their sentences quashed after doubts over evidence. The Conlon family have received a private acknowledgement that there was a miscarriage of justice but are campaigning for it to go further.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, met the family last week and has said he will raise the issue of a public apology when he meets Mr Blair on Tuesday.

The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven were later jailed in connection with the Guildford bomb and other bombings in Woolwich, south-east London.

Mr Conlon's father Guiseppe, who had a history of bronchial problems, died in prison in 1980 while serving his sentence.

A number of MPs, church leaders, journalists and legal figures raised concerns about the convictions.

In October 1989 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences of the Guildford Four, and in June 1991 it overturned the sentences on the Maguire Seven.

Mr Conlon's case was highlighted in the Oscar-nominated film In The Name Of The Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

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