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30 January 1997 Edition

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British Special Branch invented `IRA' personnel

LAST MONDAY, 24 January the trial of four young Irish republicans began in the Old Bailey, London. Three of the young men bravely stood up in the court and admitted bombing soldiers pubs in Guildford and Woolwich in October 1974 and for which innocent people were serving life imprisonment.

These dramatic admissions sent shockwaves through the establishment in England, exposing the frame-up tactics of the British police, and bringing into relief the 80 or so convictions of Irish people sentenced on `conspiracy charges' and on `confession' evidence.

In the autumn of 1974 two English pubs frequented by British soldiers in Guildford and Woolwich were bombed, it is now known, by active service units of the Irish Republican Army. IRA units proved so elusive that the English police and Special Branch invented IRA personnel and arrested three Belfast people resident in England and an English girl. They were interrogated and tortured for seven days and forced to sign false confessions admitting the bombings.

These four people - Paul Hill, Gerald Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Armstrong's girlfriend Carol Richardson - were found guilty on 22 October 1975 on 33 charges, including seven of murder. It was one of the biggest farces British justice has so far produced.

Republican News, 29 January 1977.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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