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UK and Dublin Governments must act in wake of Birmingham revelations - Beattie

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Upper Bann MLA, Doug Beattie MC, has called on the UK and Republic of Ireland Governments to take action following the admission by Michael Hayes that he was part of the IRA gang that bombed Birmingham.    

Doug Beattie MC, who is the Ulster Unionist Justice spokesperson, said:

"The interview by Michael Hayes describing himself as a very active member of the IRA in Birmingham during the pub bombings in 1974, is yet another example of how imbalanced the justice system is and just what awaits us in the shape of the intended Historical Investigation Unit (HIU).

“The Birmingham bombings left 21 people dead and many more injured yet there seems to be no momentum to bring the perpetrators to justice. What Michael Hayes has done is stick two fingers up to the families, the justice system and the search for a legacy solution. His apology is not only hollow but it lacks credibility and honesty. His acceptance of collective responsibility without giving details of this horrendous crime is nothing short of cowardice. His sycophantic attempt to paint himself as a heroic volunteer who butchered innocent civilians enjoying a night out in a Birmingham pub is absolutely sickening.

“As I did with Kieran Conway, another former IRA bomber who openly admitted being present when British soldiers were killed, I call on the UK government to seek Michael Hayes extradition from the Irish Republic to face questions about his role in the Birmingham bombing. I also ask the Dublin government to commit to investigating these shocking admissions from both men and take some action as opposed to being merely a passive bystander.

“Both Hayes and Conway show no sense of fear of being brought to justice. If they are in receipt of the disgraceful OTR letters of comfort, then the public must be told. And we should then at least be spared any more interventions from former Labour Ministers who were part of the same Labour Government that issued them to mass murderers as if they were confetti.

“We need to go after the people who gave the orders and who decided that innocent people should be targeted in Birmingham that night. And if legacy, truth and justice are to mean anything, we need to go after the people behind every other terrorist atrocity as well.

“The Irish government have a major role to play in legacy issues and I expect them to be part of the solution not the problem. If Dublin chooses to take no action against either of these men and if the UK government does not request extradition for these crimes, then the legacy deal brokered between the DUP and Sinn Fein is dead in the water. Blame for this failure will lie solely at the door of the two governments.”

Ulster Unionists