Category: Archive

Conlons to get public apology from PM

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Conlon’s admissions in police custody also led the arrest of his father, Guiseppe, who had traveled to England to arrange a legal defense for his son. Other family members and three of Conlon’s friends were also wrongly arrested, convicted and sentenced.
Even though their sentences were later quashed when doubts over evidence were raised, a campaign for further recognition has intensified. All the defendants were acquitted in 1989, including those who had completed their sentences.
Guiseppe Conlon, however, had already died in custody in 1980 from a pre-existing medical condition that was made worse by the medical neglect of the prison authorities who considered him an IRA prisoner.
The taoiseach has thrown his weight behind the Belfast family’s fight as has the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan. On Sunday, the Northern Secretary Paul Murphy appeared to indicate an apology was imminent.
“He [Blair] has already written of course to the family expressing his view that there was a very serious miscarriage of justice. He very much regrets that, and that he is very sorry for the hurt and suffering of the family,” he said.
“I have no doubt, that if asked the same in public he would make a similar public apology. There are all sorts of ways in which that can happen. The taoiseach will raise it and they can work it out from there.”
The Oscar-nominated movie “In The Name Of The Father” dramatizing the family’s plight starred Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon and Emma Thompson as the family’s campaigning lawyer.
Durkan said the British establishment “from top to bottom destroyed the good names of innocent people, and even when they were ultimately released, the whispering continued.
“To this day, Gerry Conlon is called a bomber in the street. Having been so publicly wronged, they now want a public apology from Tony Blair. He has shown an interest in this case in the past and I am asking him to go the extra mile to give the family the peace of mind they deserve.
“In prison, Guiseppe Conlon was denied proper medical treatment. After his release, Gerry Conlon was denied specialist medical treatment to deal with problems resulting from his imprisonment on the grounds that he was an IRA prisoner,” Durkan continued.
“That is why they are also looking to the British government to provide the family with the medical support they need to deal with their trauma. They are also looking for decent compensation for the torment caused to their lives.
“Bertie Ahern listened carefully to the family and promised them he would
raise their case with Tony Blair when he next sees him,” he said.
Durkan added that the Conlon family was grateful to the taoiseach for his support.

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