Adams stops short of apology

As survivors of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings joined hundreds of others at a service in the city yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, expressed his regrets but stopped short of an apology on behalf of the IRA.

There have been mounting calls in the past few weeks for the IRA to admit responsibility for one of the worst terrorist atrocities carried out in mainland Britain, and to apologise.

Yesterday - in churches, mosques, synagogues and temples - the people of Birmingham remembered the events of 21 November 1974 when two bombs exploded in city centre pubs, killing 21 people and injuring 160.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Adams said: "I certainly regret what happened ."

But the West Belfast MP added: "My recollection very clearly is that the IRA apologised for all the actions it engaged in in which civilians were killed or injured. I think the best thing is for us to make sure that these awful events never happen again."

In a sermon, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, commemorated the dead and injured, and also reminded worshippers of the reprisal attacks on the city's large Irish community.

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