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The exceptional courage of Ann McKernan

Ann McKernan, who has died after a lengthy illness, suffered the devastating experience of seeing her brother, Gerry Conlon, and their father, Guiseppe, wrongly convicted of involvement in the IRA's Guildford pub bombing atrocity in 1974.

She became a tireless campaigner for justice, and, although Guiseppe passed away in prison, she was there when Gerry was finally cleared in 1989 by the Court of Appeal in London.

A memorable photograph of Ann and her sister Bridie embracing Gerry, who has also subsequently died, as he walked free from the Old Bailey, captured the full emotion of the occasion.

The commitment and courage displayed over many years by Ann, whose funeral takes place in west Belfast later today, was exceptional by any standards.

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Leading article