While the Guildford Four or Birmingham Six were wrongfully imprisoned for bombings carried out by the IRA, did the IRA themselves try to tell anyone - (e.g. the authorities or the media) - that the wrong people were in jail?

It seems like it would have been an excellent propaganda opportunity - to publicly embarrass the British authorities - and since the IRA claimed responsibility for their various attacks, the notion that they were just relieved to have gotten away with it or didn't want to be caught themselves doesn't seem right.

And if not, has anyone - whether in or with links to the IRA themselves, or experts on the subject - spoken about why not?


1 Answer 1


There was at least one occasion when a member of the IRA publically stated that the Guildford Four had been wrongly convicted.

During the trial of the Balcombe Street gang in 1977, Joe O'Connell made a statement to the court in which he admitting to carrying out the bombings.

We have recognised this court to the extent that we have instructed our lawyers to draw the attention of the court to the fact that four totally innocent people - Carole Richardson, Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill and Paddy Armstrong - are serving massive sentences for three bombings, two in Guildford and one in Woolwich, which three of us and another man now imprisoned, have admitted that we did. The Director of Public Prosecutions was made aware of these admissions in December, 1975 and has chosen to do nothing.

SEARC'S WEB GUIDE – Joe O'Connell (born 1951) - Internet Archive

Note - I have no way to verify if this transcript of the statement is accurate, but for what it's worth, Wikipedia also refers to the same page.

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