Birmingham pub bombings suspect ‘was raised in city before settling in Belfast’

Michael Patrick Reilly was arrested on Wednesday (Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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The man being quizzed over the Bir­­­mingham pub bombings was raised in the city, it is claimed.

Michael Patrick Reilly, 65, was arrested early on Wednesday at his Belfast home.

But a source has said it is believed Mr Reilly, who was 19 at the time of the attacks, grew up in Birmingham.

The source said: “We believe he was raised in Birmingham and spent a significant part of his young life there.

“He certainly would have gone back and forth ­between England and Ireland over the years. It is believed he was living in the Digbeth area of the city in 1974 but eventually settled in West Belfast where he had family.”

Yesterday the pensioner was still being questioned. He was arrested under the Terrorism Act and taken to Musgrave Street police station in Belfast while searches continued at his address.

The Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after one of the explosions
(Image: PA)

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The arrest came days before the 46th ­anniversary of the November 21 blasts which killed 21 at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs.

The bungled police inquiry which followed led to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six. They were freed in 1991 after all charges were quashed.

At last year’s inquest, an anonymous ex-IRA volunteer named four men he claimed took part, three of whom are now dead.

Some 21 people were killed in the blasts
(Image: PA)

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The fourth, Michael Hayes, now lives in Dublin.

When lawyers for the victims’ families put Mr Reilly’s name to the former volunteer, he denied knowledge of his involvement. Mr Hayes has always strongly denied anything to do with the Birmingham outrage.

Approached for a comment on the bombings for a TV documentary in 2018, his lawyer said allegations he was involved were “without any foundation”.

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