An English police force has been accused of “feet-dragging” over its apparent reluctance to question a self-proclaimed IRA figure, after it was confirmed that plans are now in motion for him to be quizzed at last.
West Midlands Police has told the News Letter that Kieran Conway, now a Dublin-based lawyer, will be questioned in the New Year – but refused to give any further details.
Mr Conway declared last year that he had been part of the IRA’s so-called “intelligence” network in England at the time of the 1974 Birmingham bombings, when the group murdered 21 people and injured more than 180 by blowing up two Birmingham pubs.
Mr Conway (who did not himself take part in the bomb attacks), had written about the atrocities in an autobiographical book in 2014, and in December that year West Midlands Police said it would “review” its contents.
Mr Conway had said he would be prepared to speak with officers, either by having UK police come to Dublin to ask him questions “informally”, or by getting them to submit questions via Gardai.
The News Letter reported in late November that he had still not been questioned.
West Midlands Police has now told the News Letter: “We have requested a meeting via the Irish Police and we hope to speak to Mr Conway as soon as possible.”
Pressed for further details – firstly, when the meeting will be, and secondly what form the interview will take (whether it will involve a visit by West Midlands officers to Ireland, for instance) – the force said:” The meeting will be next year at some point. Sorry we cannot answer the second part of your question at this stage.”
Asked if this is likely to be before the end of January, the force did not respond.
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “Here is a man who has openly boasted of his knowledge of IRA criminal activity, yet, to date he has not been questioned. Why? “Why the feet-dragging in taxing him with the hard questions he needs to face?”
Mr Conway operates an eponymous solicitors’ firm which describes itself as a “criminal law and human rights practice”, based in Coke Lane, central Dublin.
As well as writing about the Birmingham atrocities in his 2014 book, Mr Conway also claimed there had been significant collusion between the Gardai and the IRA.