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Birmingham bombing families to ask UK Home Secretary for inquest money

The families of the victims are hoping to hear that their request for a renewed inquest has been granted.

England Birmingham Pub Bomb The ruins of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham the day after the bombings, 22 November 1974 Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE FAMILIES OF some of the victims of the Birmingham bombings in November 1974 are to meet with the UK Home Secretary today.

The relatives of the victims are hoping to hear from Home Secretary Amber Rudd that their request for funding legal representation for a resumed inquest into the bombings has been granted.

21 people lost their lives in the bombing of two pubs in the English midlands city on 21 November 1974.

Migrant crisis Amber Rudd Source: Lauren Hurley

Six Irish men, thereafter dubbed the Birmingham Six, spent 16 years in prison for the crime before being cleared of all wrongdoing in connection with it.

The men subsequently claimed that police had coerced them into signing confessions using physical and psychological torture.

The inquest into the atrocity is expected to be reopened next year after the UK Coroner’s Office ruled that information concerning the bombings was made available to West Midlands Police in advance of the attack but was not acted upon.

Birmingham Bomb Attacks 16-year-old Gary Cowan in hospital in Birmingham following the bomb attack at the Tavern in the Town pub Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Louise Hunt found that there is a “wealth of evidence that still has not been heard” in early June of this year.

Hunt heard evidence that an overheard conversation was reported to police 11 days before the attack in which men linked to the IRA were heard saying that “Birmingham would be hit next week”.

The victims were killed when two bombs were detonated in two pubs, the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town, on 21 November 1974. A third bomb was found later that night but it failed to detonate.

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Although the IRA never claimed responsibility for the attack, they are widely believed to have planted the bombs.

Police had argued that the coroner did not have the authority to hear the inquests but she rejected that submission.

Birmingham pub bombings inquest Paddy Hill, one of the six men wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, at the coroner's hearing on 1 June 2016 Source: Ben Birchall

“I have serious concerns that advanced notice of the bombs may have been available to the police and that they failed to take the necessary steps to protect life,” Hunt said in June.

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