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HomeLive StreamAppeal bid to release classified 1975 IRA file rejected, say lawyers

Appeal bid to release classified 1975 IRA file rejected, say lawyers

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Lawyers acting for loved ones of the IRA Birmingham pub bombings’ victims say they have lost an appeal for full access to a classified file on the political reaction to the terrorist group’s UK activities in 1975.

Two bombs planted in the city’s Mulberry Bush and Tavern In The Town pubs exploded on November 21 1974, killing 21 people and injuring up to 220 more.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice for the killings.

Birmingham pub bombings / PA Media

In 2019, an inquest found a botched IRA warning was responsible for victims’ unlawful killings.

However, the coronial process was described as “unsatisfactory” by some of the bereaved, for not prompting criminal charges against any of the perpetrators.

KRW Law which represents 10 of the victim’s families, made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Northern Ireland Office in November 2017, which holds the file, referenced CJ4/6052.

The file – described as “Provisional IRA intentions and activities in Great Britain 1975 Jan 01 – 1975 Dec 31” – came to the Belfast-based law firm’s attention after its title was listed in a schedule put together during preparation for the now-completed inquest.

Birmingham pub bombings / PA Wire

Lawyers for the firm previously said they wanted access to the file, collated in the year after the bombings, as it charted “political thinking and the reaction to the mainland terror campaign post the pub bombings”, claiming it was therefore of significant public interest.

In a statement on Wednesday, KRW said the Information Rights Tribunal had rejected its appeal against the original refusal of NIO to disclose the file, on national security grounds, in a ruling made on February 24.

Twelve pages from the file were previously released with redactions, shortly before a previous court hearing on the issue, in February 2020.

The appeal tribunal concluded that there continued to be a threat to national security in Northern Ireland from dissident Republicans and the threat had been continuous, from 1975.

Birmingham pub bombings inquest / PA Archive

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