Irish community honours victims with short video after Covid halts annual ceremony
Report by Bill McCarthy
For many Suttonians, the 46th anniversary of the Birmingham Pub Bombings on November 21, will bring back shocking memories.
I, like many young people at the time, frequented both pubs, the Tavern in Town and The Mulberry Bush, sometimes on the same evening. On that particular night, if I hadn’t been delayed at night school, I could have been in either at the time of the blasts.
It looked like a narrow escape at the time and so it proved as 21 young people lost their lives and 182 were injured, many maimed for life in the IRA atrocity.
I had Irish parents, both of whom were out and about that night and was fearful of the backlash against the Irish community.
That backlash duly came, but quickly subsided if my distant memory recalls correctly, but we lived in fear of reprisals in the immediate aftermath.
Most of us know what happened next, the false imprisonment of the so-called ‘Birmingham Six’ and subsequent police scandal when the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad was disbanded over corruption and misuse of power.
Worst of all, the terrible ongoing heartache for the families that the perpetrators remain unpunished.
The Irish community however has never forgotten the victims and for the past two years the city’s Birmingham Irish Association and wider community has gathered beneath the trees memorial on Grand Central Plaza to remember those who lost their lives on that evening in 1974.
Sadly, this year due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 it will not be possible to hold a ceremony that would allow them to pay respects in a fitting manner and to remember the tragedy that struck the city that evening.
A committee is currently working on a short video that will be released at 8.17pm on the 21st November through various social media channels and outlets.
Further information will be released shortly so please keep an eye on the website and Facebook page. Visit www.birish.org.uk/get-e-news, for more details.
Birmingham Irish Association is the Midlands’ leading charity providing support and cultural services to the Irish community. It is based in the Heart of the Irish Quarter in Digbeth, Birmingham.
Were you there, do you have any memories? Send them to email@example.com, leave your comments below.