Northern Ireland news

Ann McKernan: Sister of Guildford Four's Gerry Conlon dies

Irish News editor Noel Doran with Ann McKernan, one of Gerry Conlan's sisters, and author Richard O'Rawe in October. Picture by Matt Bohill

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR who fought for the release of her brother Gerry Conlon and father Giuseppe after they were wrongfully convicted was a "champion against social injustice".

Tributes have been paid to Ann McKernan, who died yesterday.

She had fought for justice for years after her brother Gerry was among four people wrongfully convicted of the 1974 IRA Guildford pub bombings.

The Guildford Four - who also included Paul Hill, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson - were convicted of the attacks which killed four British soldiers and a civilian.

Gerry Conlon's father Giuseppe, and members of the Maguire family - known as the Maguire Seven - were also arrested and wrongly convicted.

The Guildford Four were finally released in 1989 after spending 15 years behind bars in what is regarded as one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Mrs McKernan recently contributed to a new book about her brother entitled In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story.

She told author Richard O'Rawe about her brother's life after his release, including a memorable trip around Ireland with star Johnny Depp.

SDLP councillor Tim Atwood last night expressed his condolences to Mrs McKernan's family.

"I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ann," he said.

"Ann was a champion against social injustice and she stood firmly by Gerry through both his time in prison and when he sought a public apology.

"Ann was a rock for her family when both her brother and father were in prison.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ann's family at this difficult time."

Mr Conlon, who battled lung cancer, died in June 2014 at the age of 60.

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