A member of the Guildford Four was confirmed today as a guest speaker at this weekend’s nationalist SDLP conference.
The party confirmed that Gerry Conlon, who today was among 11 people who received a public apology from British Prime Minister Tony Blair for being wrongfully jailed for IRA bomb attacks in Guildford and Woolwich, has been lined up to take part in the conference in Derry on Saturday.
Mr Conlon has in the past appeared in SDLP broadcasts and the party was involved in efforts to secure a public apology from the British government for his wrongful imprisonment.
His father Giuseppe was also jailed for the bombings and died while serving his sentence.
Both Gerry Conlon and his father today received acknowledgement that they were victims of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history.
The case was highlighted in the Oscar-nominated movie In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry and Pete Postlethwaite as Giuseppe.
SDLP leader Mark Durkan was involved in efforts to secure a public apology from the British government, lobbying Taoiseach Bernie Ahern to raise the case with Tony Blair at a summit in Downing Street last week.
Saturday’s conference will be officially opened by former leader John Hume who is standing down from the House of Commons at the next General Election in Britain.
Mr Durkan will replace John Hume as the SDLP’s Westminster candidate in what promises to be a tough battle to retain the seat against a challenge from Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.
Lawrence McBride of Trócaire has also been lined up as a guest speaker on the issue of international development.
And anti-racism campaigner Anne Marie Bell will also address the rising state of racial violence in Northern Ireland.
Majella McCloskey of the fuel poverty charity, NEA, has also been asked to address the party on the issue of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland, noting 203,000 households in the North are living in the cold without proper heating systems.