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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 12:52 GMT
Pain lives on after three decades
The destroyed Mulberry Bush pub
The Mulberry Bush pub was destroyed
On 21 November 1974, the city of Birmingham was thrust into the spotlight when the IRA launched one of its most ferocious ever attacks in Britain.

Two bombs were planted at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs in the centre of the city.

When they exploded, 21 people lost their lives and scores more were seriously injured.

The atrocity plunged the nation into mourning and provoked widespread revulsion.

On Sunday, survivors will gather with the friends and relatives of those who died to mark the 30th anniversary of the bombings.

For them the pain and memories never die.

Patients and hospital staff after the bombings
The city's hospitals were overwhelmed with the injured

The incident began at 2014 GMT on 21 November 1974, when a man with an Irish accent telephoned a Birmingham newspaper saying there was a bomb in the 17-storey Rotunda office block which housed the Mulberry Bush pub.

Eleven minutes later, the bomb exploded. Two minutes after that, a second bomb in the Tavern in the Town pub went off.

A third device, outside a bank on Hagley Road, failed to detonate.

Ten people at the Mulberry Bush and 11 at the Tavern in the Town died and almost 200 injured.

Scores of taxis lined up in New Street to ferry victims to the city's overwhelmed hospitals.

Initially the Provisional IRA denied responsibility for the attacks but subsequent statements by its members confirmed the connection.

Victims' fund

The bombings were believed to be in revenge for a ban on a local funeral for an IRA member who was killed a week before the attacks in Birmingham when the bomb he was placing in Coventry detonated early.

Six men - Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker - were jailed for life in 1975 after being found guilty of carrying out the bombings.

They always denied their involvement and their case later became one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

In March 1991 the Court of Appeal overturned their convictions and the men were released from prison after spending 16 years behind bars.

After the terror attacks, anger towards the Irish community swept through the city.

Jim Eames, the then Lord Mayor of Birmingham, appealed for calm through the media in a bid to appease the civic unrest.

A fund for the victims was set up and co-ordinated by Mr Eames.

About 400,000 was raised thanks to donations from the public and various organisations up and down the country, including large contributions by the Irish community.

As Birmingham remembers the victims of the bombings on Sunday, it will be a time for the city to reflect on the changes that have occurred and the challenges still posed by the threat of terrorism.

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