The IRA does not bear responsibility for the wrongful incarceration of the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six and others for Republican terrorism, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has said.

In the wake of the death of one of those wrongly jailed, Gerry Conlon, Mr Adams said the burden of guilt for the miscarriages of justice rests absolutely with the British establishment.

Mr Conlon, 60, died in his home in Belfast on Saturday after an illness. He spent 14 years in jail for the 1974 IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford, Surrey, in which four soldiers and a civilian were killed and 65 people were injured - a crime he had nothing to do with.

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Mr Adams made his comments after former SDLP MP Seamus Mallon accused terror leaders of "almost conniving" with the British Government to keep innocent people behind bars.

"I wonder what their consciences tell them now," said Mr Mallon.

Mr Adams dismissed the claim as political point-scoring: "The responsibility for the detention and incarceration of a range of people there, from the Guildford Four to the Birmingham Six and the Maguires, rests absolutely with the British establishment.

"The police there knew those individuals were not involved in those actions and there was a cover-up and that's a matter of public record."