Fife miner welcomes progress in strike inquiry

Former Frances colliery miner Tom Adams with the Dysart strike banner. (Pic George McLuskie).
Former Frances colliery miner Tom Adams with the Dysart strike banner. (Pic George McLuskie).

A campaign to clear the names of pit workers claiming wrongful arrest during the miners’ strike could finally be realised, 35 years after one of the most divisive industrial disputes in British history.

That’s the view of Tom Adams, a former Frances Colliery miner, who has campaigned tirelessly for the past four decades to achieve justice for himself and formercolleagues.

He is one of many miners claiming wrongful arrest during their time on the picket lines, with many, Mr Adams included, saying they were deliberately targeted by police.

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Mr Adams has welcomed the findings of a recently published interim report by John Scott QC following the launch of an independent review into the impact policing had on communities during the bitter year-long dispute of 1984/85.

Thousand of miners lost their jobs and their livelihoods following the strike.

More than 500 miners from the Frances in Dysart were made redundant, while a further 300 lost jobs following the closure of Kirkcaldy’s Seafield pit.

The call for evidence attracted more than 100 responses from both miners and police officers involved at the time.

It’s a process which Mr Adams hopes will prove the first step to afull UK inquiry into the handling of the strike.

“The independent review has offered miners the first real opportunity to put their side of the story forward with the belief that those experiences and injustices will be listened to and taken seriously for the first time,” said Mr Adams.

“It’s too late for a good many who have passed away in the ensuing 35 years, which makes the search for justice and this opportunity even more important.

“It felt good to be listened too and hopefully we will be vindicated in a continued search for justice.”

The findings of the review were originally expected to be published in June of this year.

However, in his interim report, Mr Scott QC advised that because of the number of statements and the evidence collected that additional time would now be required in order to analyse all of the findings.

A final report is now expected by the end of August.

“We’ve waited 35 year so a couple more months won’t make any difference,” added Mr Adams.

“This must be the trigger for a UK wide inquiry, it’s long overdue and what we deserve.”