Limerick mother’s relief at son’s innocence

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Bridie Foran, with a picture of her son Martin, as a youngster - she is relieved his conviction for robbery has been quashed [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
THE 97-year-old mother of Martin Foran, who has seen his conviction for a robbery quashed in a British court has spoken of her relief at his innocence.

THE 97-year-old mother of Martin Foran, who has seen his conviction for a robbery quashed in a British court has spoken of her relief at his innocence.

Killely woman Bridie Foran has been championing her son’s innocence throughout his 28-year search for justice - even writing to the British queen asking her to intervene.

Mr Foran, 69, who moved to England in the 1960s, saw his dying wish granted when Lord Justice Leveson overturned his conviction for a robbery in 1985 due to “the serious tainting of police evidence”.

He was jailed for the gang robbery of £1,700 from a Birmingham pub landlord and a plot to raid a post office in the city days later.

After he was cleared of all charges by the Court of Appeal, his mother Bridie says she remains angry that he spent eight years behind bars.

“It really hurt me to see him in jail. I had five girls and three boys, and the guards never came to the doors over any of them,” she said.

Bridie said her son was always a “wild child” but never bad.

“He was a very wild child, a very small child. He was very fast. I used to bring him into the class, but by the time she got back home, he would be back in the sitting room,” she told the Limerick Leader.

Bridie believes the police force in Britain were biased against Irish people, especially under the stewardship of the late Margaret Thatcher.

“Margaret Thatcher hated the Irish: It was bad form sending him to prison for nothing. Please God, he can lead a good life now,” she said.

Mr Foran’s youngest sister Patricia Harte, of Cosgrave Park, spoke of her sister Bridie Flynn, who sadly passed away last summer.

She said: “All she every kept saying was Tricia, he will win. But she wasn’t here to see it. But she is in heaven now looking down.”

Patricia said her brother developed the problems he faces today while in prison.

He is disabled, and largely bound to his home in Manchester.

“They wrecked his body in prison. He is disabled from the beatings he got in the prison,” he added.

“He was innocent when he had done it, and we are all happy at that now,” she added.