the release of the Birmingham Six have welcomed reports that the Director of Public Prosecutions is to drop forensic evidence against the men when their case comes up in the Appeal Court next month.
"The case is falling apart," said Bishop Edward Daly of Derry. "Neither the forensic evidence nor the confessions of the men will hold up in the appeal court," he said. "These men should be freed. They are innocent."
A spokesperson in the DPP's office would not confirm the latest development in the case.
However, the fact that there has been no denial of the reports of the decision to drop the forensic evidence would suggest that they are true, said Nuala Kelly, director of the Irish bishops' Commission for Prisoners Overseas.
A report from the Home Office forensic science service, distributed last year to solicitors for the six men who have spent 15 years in prison for the Birmingham pub bombings, concluded that it cannot be proved beyond reasonable doubt that any of them had handled explosives.
If the forensic evidence is dropped, the case rests on the confessions of four of the men and circumstantial evidence. Mc men have always claimed that the admissions were beaten out of them during police questioning.
New tests on police documents are known to have raised questions about possible alterations to police notebooks and statements.
Archbishop Thomas Winning of Glasgow said on BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme last week, that he believed that the men are innocent. "1 believe that the Director of Public Prosecutions should, with the humility he showed in the case of the Guildford Four, announce he is not contesting this appeal," he said.