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Irish family portrayed in ‘Father’ lambastes movie

LONDON — An Irish family, depicted in a much-praised film that explores the wrongful conviction of three men and a woman for IRA bombings, said Tuesday the movie was a misleading account that confused fact and fiction.

“In the Name of the Father,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, tells the story of Gerry Conlon and friends Patrick Armstrong, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson, who served long jail sentences for a bombing that even the Irish Republican Army said the group did not commit.

Seven members of the Maguire family, whose own convictions for running an IRA bomb factory in a London suburb were overturned in 1991, are also portrayed in the film, which co-stars Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson and is considered a top contender for several Oscar nominations.

In a statement, the Maguires said the film’s docu style gave a misleading impression of the case and failed to give due credit to the many people involved in quashing the convictions.

They said the film mistakenly suggests they and the so-called Guilford Four were tried together for pub bombings, which formed part of the IRA’s campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

“Only those who have a knowledge of these cases would know what is fact and what is fiction,” they said. “This film’s audience may leave the cinema believing that what they saw is fact. Much of the detail of the film is fiction.”

Conlon and friends were jailed for life in 1975 for their alleged part in blowing up a pub in Guilford, south of London. They spent 14 years in jail before being freed on appeal.

The “Maguire Seven” were jailed for between five and 14 years for handling explosives.

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