McIlkenny 'now free'

by Democrat reporter

MOURNERS AT the funeral of one of the Birmingham Six, Richard McIlkenny, were told that he has finally found freedom.

Wrongly jailed for the murder of 21 people in IRA bomb attacks on two pubs in the city in 1974, he died in Dublin aged 73 following a long illness.

An innocent man, he languished in British jails for 16 years before eventually in 1991 his conviction was quashed and he was freed.

Father PJ Gilmore told several hundred mourners that the father of six struggled to find peace and come to terms with the injustice done on him after his release. "I wonder did Richard ever come home?" the priest asked. "Ann (McIlkenny's daughter) said to me last week he never felt free. He never felt free, Richard you touched all of us, you are free now."

Mr McIlkenny died in a Dublin hospital on 21 May with his family at his bedside after a long battle against cancer. He was one of six men who had false confessions beaten out of them by British police following the bomb attacks.

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