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'He's a coward, as simple as that' - Sister of victim rejects apology from IRA bomb maker

Michael Christopher Hayes said he did not plant bombs in Birmingham but refused to say who did.

Julie Hambleton's sister she is not interested in apologies but wants justice.
Julie Hambleton's sister she is not interested in apologies but wants justice.
Image: BBC News

SOME OF THE families of the victims of IRA bombings in Birmingham in 1974 have rejected an apology from a self-confessed IRA bomb maker.

Speaking to the BBC, Michael Christopher Hayes, who now lives in south Dublin, said he was sorry that innocent people were killed.

Hayes said two people planted the Birmingham bombs but refused to say if he was one of them or who did.

He also said that he would not attend a new inquest into the bombings that killed 21 people.

His reluctance to cooperate has promoted an angry reaction from families with Julie Hambleton, whose sister was killed in one of the bombings, telling the BBC that, “he’s a coward, as simple as that,”

Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Hambleton said that Hayes is more interested in clearing his conscience than giving solace to victims.

“We’re not interested, these are empty rhetoric from an IRA apologist who is in some form, he’s believing, in his mind, trying to claim his soul but he most certainly won’t wash and try to claim valour in any way shape or form, we’re not interested in an apology. It is empty words,” she said.

The bombings took place on 21 November 1974 and six Irish men were subsequently imprisoned after being wrongfully convicted of involvement.

The men claimed confessions were coerced by British police.

Source: BBC News/YouTube

It was announced last year that an inquest would be re-established into the bombings and Hambleton said Hayes should cooperate with it and other investigations:

Well, they should grow some backbone and get in contact with our legal team, KRW Law, or the coroner in Birmingham and say they know who did it and they wish to give evidence because if they truly want to claim valour for their souls, which would be virtually impossible, that is the way forward for them to do so.But apologising, when they are sitting protected having lived full and long lives, he’s 69. Last Thursday my sister Maxine would have been 61 had she lived, but she didn’t live.

Speaking to the BBC after a screening of Hayes’ interview Paul Bodman, son of a victim, said Hayes was speaking under legal advice.

“I think he’s primed to say what he wants to say and I think he’s leading us down a cul-de-sac again, like all the other authorities in this country,” he said.

Read: IRA bomb-maker apologises for his part in Birmingham bombings >

Read: Man arrested for IRA murder of bus driver in front of school children in 1982 >

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Rónán Duffy

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