IRA pub bomb inmate was considered for royal pardon
AN IRA prisoner involved in a deadly bomb attack on a pub was considered for a royal pardon for explosives convictions.
The move was discussed during extradition negotiations after Brendan “Bik” McFarlane escaped from the Maze jail in 1983 and fled to The Netherlands.
The IRA chief was serving a life sentence for a 1975 bombing at a Belfast bar, which killed five people.
After he was recaptured in 1986, the Northern Ireland Office debated expunging some of his convictions under a Dutch court’s terms for returning him to jail in the UK. His fellow escapee, Gerry Kelly, received a pardon for all his sentences as part of the Dutch deal. Files from 1986, released by Northern Ireland’s Public Record Office, state: “We should accept McFarlane on the conditions set out by the Dutch. I assume action under the Royal Prerogative will be necessary to remit his sentences for the three convictions for explosives.”
ESCAPE Brendan McFarlane