Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 June 2014

Gerry Conlon: Fighter against state injustice

Gary Mulcahy, Belfast Socialist Party

The death of Gerry Conlon in Belfast has been met with mass sympathy across the world as people are reminded of the British capitalist state's vile injustice against the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven.

Conlon and three other Irish immigrants were arrested by police following the IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford in 1974 resulting in the deaths of four British soldiers and one civilian. Without any evidence of any involvement in the bombing, the Guildford Four were tortured and coerced (including threats against family members) into signing confessions while in custody.

Conlon later wrote that they may have been able to withstand the beatings and not confessed if the Prevention of Terrorism Act (1973) had not extended detentions from a maximum of 48 hours to five days. This repressive legislation was passed in response to the IRA's individual terrorist campaign.

The consequent trial was rigged from the start with key evidence and alibis exempted in court. During sentencing, Judge John Donaldson - once a chairman of the Federations of University Conservative and Unionist Associations - regretted that he could not sentence the four to hanging before handing them life sentences.

The Maguire Seven were unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment on the false allegations that they had handled explosives connected with the Guildford bombing. This Maguire Seven included Patrick "Giuseppe" Conlon, father of Gerry, who died after 12 years in prison aged 64.

Throughout the 15 years that the Guildford Four remained in prison, many organisations ranging from trade unions and socialists to human rights groups campaigned for their release.

Incredibly, a statement issued by four IRA men on trial in 1977 which made it clear that the Guildford Four had nothing to do with the bombing and were completely innocent was ignored. It took 15 years before the Guildford Four were freed after a consistent and determined campaign by the prisoners, their lawyer Gareth Pierce and their supporters.

Despite Tony Blair's public formal apology in 2007, a 75 year immunity order remains on the case - itself an indication of how high up the chain of power the corruption and injustice went. Judge Donaldson was awarded and promoted to the Head of the Appeal Court.

Up to his final weeks, Gerry Conlon tirelessly campaigned against cases of state injustice and also publicly supported struggles of working class people across Britain and Ireland.

His fight and that of the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven should be a reminder to all working class people that the capitalist establishment, including the political and judicial elite, are willing to use grotesque methods against anyone they deem a threat.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 25 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

10 July: All out to end poverty pay

Western hypocrisy as Iraq disintegrates

Blame the profit system not its victims!

NHS: The world's best - but for how long?

Miliband - the emperor with no clothes

Poverty Britain

Them & Us

Socialist Party review

Thomas Piketty: The new Marx?

International socialist news and analysis

Hong Kong: Pro-Beijing newspaper attacks socialists

Israel: Nationalist thugs assault CWI members

Socialist Party workplace news

How can Unite lead fight against cuts?

Reinstate Bryan Kennedy!

Unison conference: members call for united action

GMB members question Labour link

Safety Glass strikers demonstrate their strength

National Museum Wales strike

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Assembly demo shows anti-austerity anger

South Yorkshire 'Freedom Riders' attacked by police

Fighting for young people in Blackwall and Cubitt Town

Victory! York socialists win university letting agency

Tottenham: Stop fascist attacks

Winning recruits for socialism

Tax dodgers feel the heat

Readers' comments

Supermarket price wars

A day in the life of a supermarket worker

Socialist history

When Thatcher unleashed her attack dogs


Gerry Conlon: Fighter against state injustice


Home   |   The Socialist 25 June 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleDebenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies

triangleCovid pandemic and Northern Ireland - workers must resist the bosses' offensive

triangleTwo-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

triangleFurther protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

triangleIrish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest


triangleIran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

trianglePalace letters show the monarchy is a weapon for capitalism

triangleHow the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther


triangleSinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

triangleBrexit and the border in Northern Ireland - will there be a return to the 'Troubles'?


triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


triangleBelfast Hovis workers' all-out strike

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism



The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back



TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families



Books that inspired me: The Mother


Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther



TV: The school that tried to end racism



The Socialist Inbox



Books that inspired me: The Fire Next Time



From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed



Readers' opinion


Socialist Party

I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party



The Socialist inbox



A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society



Tears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020