Northern Ireland news

Ann McKernan passed on fight for truth over Guildford bombings to her sister

Irish News editor Noel Doran with Gerry Conlan's sister Anne and Author Richard O'Rawe. Picture by Matt Bohill

ANN McKernan passed on her four decade-long fight for truth over the Guildford pub bombings to her sister before she died, it has emerged.

The mother-of-four, whose father Giuseppe, and brother Gerry, Conlon were wrongly convicted of the crime, had applied to the Surrey coroner to reopen the inquests of victims of the 1974 attacks.

Mrs McKernan died on Monday, just months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Her funeral will take place at noon tomorrow Thursday in St Peter's Cathedral with burial afterwards in Milltown Cemetery.

Mr Conlan snr died in prison and his son endured 15 years of incarceration following one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Five died and 65 were injured in the IRA blasts but those responsible were never prosecuted and the inquests never concluded.

In November, Mrs McKernan joined a former soldier, who survived the blast at the Horse & Groom and is still suffering from PTSD, to ask for the inquests to be finally completed, claiming questions remained over the actions of police and lawyers at the time.

Family friend Richard O'Rawe said her sister Bridie Brennan, the last remaining member of those two generations of the Conlan family, will now take on the case.

"Ann fought tirelessly for justice, tirelessly," he said.

"When she knew she was dying, she asked me and (solicitor) Kevin Winters to come to the house and Bridie was there too and she said that Bridie had agreed to take up the case and see justice done.

"She was a strong, strong wee girl and she knew she wanted justice served for Gerry, but also for Sarah, their mother, who was left on her own, slaving away cleaning in the Royal (Victoria Hospital), trying to get money together to see Gerry and her husband."

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