CARDINAL WELCOMES BLAIR APOLOGY OVER IRA BOMB JAILINGS
posted on 09 February 2005
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, has welcomed an apology by the Prime Minister for the wrongful jailing of 11 people for IRA bomb attacks.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said:
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s apology today for the wrongful jailing of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven. My predecessor, Cardinal Basil Hume, played a prominent part in helping to secure justice for them. He would have been very content to see this final vindication of the efforts in which he played a prominent part.”
The Prime Minister on 9 February said sorry for the wrongful jailing of 11 people for IRA bomb attacks on pubs in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974. In October 1989 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences of the Guildford Four, following a tireless campaign by the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Basil Hume.
Cardinal Hume was a member of a group known as “the Deputation” which also included Lord Devlin and Lord Scarman, and two former Home Secretaries, Roy Jenkins and Merlyn Rees. The Deputation insisted on the innocence of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven in the face of considerable opposition from political and legal authorities.
The Prime Minister's apology was made to members of the Conlon and Maguire families in his private room at Westminster.
Mr Blair said: 'I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and injustice.'
In a statement recorded for television, Mr Blair said the families deserved 'to be completely and publicly exonerated'.