Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham pub bombings: Families react to the IRA's Mick Hayes interview

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Media captionBirmingham pub bombings: Families fury at IRA 'apology'

The families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings have been reacting to comments from a man who says he was an "active volunteer" with the IRA group responsible.

Twenty-one people died when two bombs were detonated in the city centre in November 1974.

The so-called Birmingham Six were freed from prison in 1991. No-one else has ever been charged over the attacks.

Michael Christopher Hayes has said he is sorry innocent people were killed.

'He's a coward'

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the 1974 atrocity, said Mick Hayes had admitted nothing.

'He's a coward, as simple as that.

"He said he does not want to be an informer, he'd rather die? Oh, really? So he's more than happy to help and take collective responsibility for those who were murdered and unarmed, innocents... but he won't tell us who actually did it and also dismisses himself as being party to it?

"He's gutless and spineless… he's told us nothing, he's admitted nothing.

"It's very difficult to have credibility in anybody who's been in with the IRA as they like to rewrite history... so no, not really and if he wants to make claims he needs to bring evidence instead of sitting in a seat feeling comfortable, having had legal advice."

'Information contradicts what we've been told'

Paul Rowlands, who lost his father John, said Mr Hayes's comments add to the rumours.

"I'm not convinced of his role in the pub bombing.

"There's information we've seen that can't be made public that contradicts what he says.

"He just adds more depth and suspicion to the rumours.

"We'd like to see information we have had as families being put out to the public.

"People will go away thinking he did it and we don't need to look further - and we do."

'He's been primed what to say'

Paul Bodman, whose father Stanley was killed, said Mr Hayes chose his words carefully.

"We're getting closer to the truth.

"He's been primed about what to say. He's been told what to say, that's come across quite clearly.

"He's leading us down a cul-de-sac."

'Reveal more information about what is known'

George Jones, son of victim John Clifford Jones, said the public were being kept in the dark.

"The facts he has put forward have been in the public domain for a while.

"The fact he is saying he dismantled the third bomb, that was published some time ago.

"But there's one person who comes up again in this documentary that's never been named for security reasons.

"Now that needs opening up in my opinion."

'He's a parasite'

Margaret Hambleton, mother of Maxine, said she only wanted to say one thing about Mr Hayes.

"I don't want to waste my breath on that parasite. He's a liar. We know he's lying. He's an idiot. The government are just as bad."

'What did he think the bomb would do?'

Her son Joe Hambleton said he did not believe Mr Hayes.

"I'd like to go to Ireland to meet the man myself and ask him a few questions about what he knows.

"He said he dismantled the third bomb... what's the use in that being there?

"He's horrified by what the bombs done? What did he think [other bombs in pubs] were going to do? Pop? Just be a little banger and the alarm go off and everyone run out?

"He didn't know what he was doing?"

'His strings are being pulled'

Joe's sister Jane Hambleton said she felt he had been advised on what to say.

"His strings are being pulled.

"What do they think placing a bomb in Birmingham pubs and shopping centres in Warrington and Omagh... what sort of result did they expect?

'He's an absolute liar'

Her brother Brian Hambleton said Mr Hayes was avoiding answering direct questions.

"His words are about a reliable as the detonator on the bomb at Barclays Bank which fizzled out.

"He is an absolute liar.... I'd love to meet this man. If he is a brave soldier, he'd meet us if he had nothing to hide.

"It's obvious in that interview, he's avoiding all questions.

"He's being coerced in what to say."

More updates on this story

Birmingham pub bombings: What we know

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