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Legacy branch investigating claims made by IRA man turned solicitor

Dublin-based lawyer Kieran Conway who penned a book about his time in the IRA 

A PSNI cold case team is to investigate explosive claims made by a Dublin-based solicitor that he was involved in the murder of British soldiers while in the IRA.

Kieran Conway, who said he was a former IRA 'director of intelligence', published Southside Provisional: From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts in 2014.

An IRA member for more than 20 years, he was interviewed by gardaí in February about the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

He has said he played no part in planning the attacks but told the BBC in October that he was involved in several other bombings and took part in fatal gun attacks on the British army.

His claims were referred to the PSNI by Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Doug Beattie, who yesterday welcomed the news that claims made by Conway were now under investigation.

Mr Beattie, himself a former British soldier, had written to Chief Constable George Hamilton about comments made by Conway both in his book and to the BBC Hardtalk programme.

"The PSNI have now confirmed to me that the Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) is examining the interview and the subsequent Nolan interview a few days later", he said.

"This investigation will also look at his general involvement in terrorist activities and his membership of the Provisional IRA.

"This includes investigating material which might corroborate specific involvement in criminal acts," Mr Beattie said.

"I am however slightly confused as to some of the language used in the response, where the police seem unclear if the offences of murder, assisting murder or attempted murder were committed in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, given that British soldiers only operated in this jurisdiction.

"However, they have stated they will, where appropriate and reasonable, collaborate with other law enforcement agencies."

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