Sunday Life articles written by Ciaran Barnes, based upon interview with Dolours Price conducted by Allison Morris for the Irish News.
‘ARREST ADAMS NOW’
Jean McConville’s daughter says republican chief was behind mum’s murder
GRIM FIND: The body of |Jean McConville (left) |was found seven years ago
OUTRAGED: Helen McKendry, pictured here with husband Seamus yesterday, wants to see Gerry Adams arrested
THE daughter of Jean McConville last night called on police to arrest Gerry Adams over claims that he gave the order to ‘disappear’ her mother.
Helen McKendry also wants Historical Enquiries Team (HET) detectives to question IRA bomber Dolours Price who has admitted driving Jean to her death and who claims Adams was her IRA commander.
Gerry Adams has categorically denied being involved in Mrs McConville’s murder or of being involved in any of the IRA Disappeared killings.
“The HET should arrest the pair of them, Adams and Price,” Helen told Sunday Life. “It’s disgusting that the people involved in my mother’s murder are still walking the streets.
“Adams and Price might not have pulled the trigger, but they are as guilty as the people who did.”
The HET are conducting an ongoing inquiry into Jean McConville’s brutal murder. “The HET spoke to me last month about it all,” said Helen. “What I’m saying to them now is, if you are serious about getting the people who murdered my mother, arrest Gerry Adams and Dolours Price.”
Jean McConville, a Protestant who had converted to Catholicism, was abducted from her home in west Belfast’s Divis Flats complex in 1972. The IRA had accused her of being an informer. Twelve Provos took her to a house in the Beechmount area where she was interrogated before being brought to Monaghan and then on to Louth where she was shot dead.
Jean’s body was secretly buried and her remains lay undiscovered until 2003.
In a taped confession Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price has admitted driving the mum-of-10 to her death.
During the same interview she also sensationally claimed Gerry Adams masterminded the disappearance of Jean and three other IRA murder victims whose bodies have not yet been found — Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee.
“I’m convinced that the reason Gerry Adams won’t admit he was in the IRA is because it will connect him to my mother’s murder,” added Helen. “I know for a fact Gerry Adams was in the IRA.
“I used to see him all the time in military uniforms and doing guard of honour at IRA funerals.
“The British government even flew him out of Long Kesh for talks in London between ministers and the IRA.
“The reason why he keeps on lying about being in the IRA is because if he admits he was then he will be asked questions about my mother’s murder and all the others who were disappeared from Belfast.”
Helen recalled her first meeting with Adams in 1995.
The West Belfast MP called to her home after she threatened to go public with details about her mother’s death and secret burial.
“When Adams came into my house he went straight to the bathroom,” she said.
“He was in there for 15 minutes before he came out to see me and when we started talking he wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“I know why — it’s because he gave the order to disappear my mother.
“I met him a couple more times after that and I told him the names of the 12 people who came to our house in Divis in 1972 and took my mother away.
“Every time I gave him a name he defended the person saying they wouldn’t have been involved.
“It was madness. I was there, he wasn’t. I saw my mother being taken away, I know who did it.
“The fact remains that not one of the 20-plus people involved in murdering my mother has ever been charged,” said Helen.
“That is disgraceful and needs to be put right starting today with the arrests of Adams and Dolours Price.”
I DON’T HAVE ANY BLOOD ON MY HANDS
Journey: Adams in the Holy Land
MILLIONS of TV viewers will tonight hear Gerry Adams say he is “perfectly at peace” and does not have blood on his hands.
Regular Massgoer Adams talks about reconciling his religious views with his support for IRA violence in an episode of the Channel 4 documentary series The Bible: A History.
The Sinn Fein leader travelled to the Holy Land to make the programme in which he examines the life and teachings of Christ with the help of academics including Dr Helen Bond, a New Testament expert at the University of Edinburgh
In the film, Adams is asked directly by the producer if he feels he has blood on his hands.
He immediately replies: “No, I don’t.”
But he goes on to say that he did not step back from his responsibities as a leader of a struggle that had caused hurt.
The 61-year-old republican has always denied being a member of the IRA, a group that was responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths — including more than 600 civilians — during the Troubles.
Adams insists republicans were right to take up arms, saying: “I believe it was legitimate to resort to armed action, l would love for there to have been another way but I don’t live in that world.
He later adds: “I am not a pacifist and I don’t believe that non-violent protest would have got justice in Ireland, but I do know that after decades of war, we all have plenty to forgive and to be forgiven for.”
Adams goes on to stress his role in helping to bring peace in Ireland, at one point quoting a friend who said: “It takes generals to make peace.”
Asked if he needed the forgiveness of others to feel more at peace, Adams smiles broadly and tells the producer: “I am perfectly at peace, absolutely.”
I didn’t order Jean’s killing
Adams denies claims that he gave go-ahead for McConville disappearance
WEB OF INTRIGUE: (clockwise from left) A young Gerry Adams;
Jean McConville with three of her children;
Dolores Price (left of picture) with her sister Marian;
Dolores Price now and Jean McConville’s daughter Helen McKendry
GERRY Adams last night vehemently denied claims by Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price that he ordered the abduction of IRA disappeared victim Jean McConville.
But Price, who is due to meet this week with investigators searching for the Disappeared, has made it clear that she will tell them that her IRA boss Adams masterminded the disappearance and that she drove the mum-of-10 to her death.
Sunday Life has heard tape recordings made by Price in which she details the allegations against Adams and confesses her own involvement in a series of murders and secret burials.
Adams last night rubbished Dolours Price’s allegations, saying: “I reject entirely any allegations made by Dolours Price. She is a long-standing opponent of Sinn Fein and the peace process. In addition she clearly has her own issues to resolve.”
Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA but Price claims he was her OC, officer commanding.
Price, 59, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, confessed last week to driving other disappeared victims — Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee — to their deaths.
Sunday Life can also reveal that Price, 59, has admitted in other recordings her involvement in the 1972 abduction of Jean McConville from her home in west Belfast’s Divis Flats complex.
Like Lynskey, Wright and McKee, Price drove her to Co Monaghan where she was executed by the IRA and secretly buried.
Ms McConville’s remains were eventually discovered in 2003 on a Co Louth beach. Veteran west Belfast republican Pat McClure, who is now dead, was also in the car to ensure Ms McConville did not escape.
A remorseful Price, who fell out with the Provos in 1997, is set to tell all about her role in the Disappeared scandal to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) when it meets with her in Dublin this week.
She will also tell investigators, including Moors Murders detective Geoff Knupfler, that Sinn Fein MP Adams, who denies ever being in the IRA, was her “OC” and gave the order to disappear Jean McConville.
Price, who had a breakdown as a result of her role in the IRA and time in prison, has claimed that Adams was the brains behind the IRA’s disappeared policy.
In 1972 arguments raged within the IRA as to what to do with alleged informants.
Many members wanted them to be shot and their bodies dumped in public as a deterrent to others.
However, Price is claiming that Adams and other senior IRA figures in Belfast argued that this would be bad for their image so bodies should be disappeared instead.
Reacting to Price’s allegations Adams said: “Dolours has set herself against the Sinn Fein leadership on many occasions. But I was very moved by her admission that she is suffering from trauma.
“There obviously are issues she has to find closure on for herself and there’s no point anyone in these situations blaming anyone else – it’s up to her and she needs support to come to terms with this.
“However, she is not alone. There are other former vulnerable republican activists who have or are suffering trauma and who have been cynically exploited by some elements of the media.”
Adams also stressed that all IRA members should be proud of their role in the organisation.
He added: “Many of them (IRA members) suffered imprisonment, injury or the loss of friends and comrades. All can look back on their IRA involvement with pride.”
In her tape recorded confession, which Sunday Life has heard, Price claims that Adams played a key role in disappearing victims.
She reveals that she picked up Joe Lynskey on the orders of Gerry Adams, who she says was in charge of Belfast and her “OC”.
Price explains that Lynskey knew she was coming for him and although he was aware he was going to be shot he was very calm.
The veteran republican then tells of how Lynskey packed a small bag and had resigned himself to the fact he was going to die.
Price explains how on the way to Monaghan she wanted to let him go but couldn’t because she was afraid of the consequences.
The IRA bomber goes on to explain how when she handed Lynskey over to the Provos in Monaghan he hugged her and told her not to worry.
The same year that Lynskey was disappeared, 1972, Price was also involved in the abduction of Jean McConville, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee.
Again she has claimed that all three were disappeared on Adams’ orders.
She names Pat McClure as the IRA man who accompanied her when she brought Jean McConville to the IRA in Monaghan.
Price tells of how the IRA in Divis Flats wanted Jean’s body dumped in the middle of Albert Street, but she says top men like Gerry Adams and Joe Cahill argued against that, saying it would be bad for the image, so she was secretly buried instead.
Price, who has made taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at Boston University, will relay this information to ICLVR investigators later this week.
The IRA started to co-operate with investigators searching for disappeared victims following the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
A short time later Price and other senior IRA operatives from the early 1970s were approached by IRA leader Bobby Storey (right) for help locating remains.
The ex-wife of Oscar nominated actor Stephen Rea was asked what details she could remember about the McConville, Wright and McKee abductions. However, the Lynskey disappearance was not discussed.
TRIO VANISHED FOREVER
THE bodies of IRA murder victims Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee have never been found.
All three west Belfast men disappeared in 1972 when the Provos had a policy of secretly burying the remains of suspected informants and rule-breaking volunteers.
The trio were driven to their deaths by Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price and handed over to a so-called ‘nutting squad’ based in Co Monaghan.
Top IRA man Lynskey was executed because he had arranged for the IRA husband of a woman he was having an affair with to be shot.
The former trainee monk wanted him dead so he could set up home with his lover.
After the man — named locally as Joe Russell — was shot, Lynskey blamed the attack on the Official IRA, who the Provos were feuding with at the time.
The incident almost sparked a bloody confrontation between the warring IRA factions.
But it later emerged that Lynskey had set up the shooting — a move that led Provo chiefs to order his execution.
It has also been claimed that Lynskey was having a second affair with the wife of a young IRA man who would later rise through the ranks and sit on the IRA Army Council.
Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee were killed and disappeared after IRA bosses discovered they had been recruited as informants for the Army’s shadowy MRF unit.
Wright admitted under IRA interrogation that both he and McKee were double agents.
He told Provo chiefs the army was using a laundry collection service in the staunchly republican Twinbrook estate as a means to spy on them.
The Four Square Laundry toured the area offering a discount washing service.
Clothes it collected were tested for traces of explosives and gun powder, while two soldiers in the van’s false roof space took photographs of suspects.
In October 1972, the IRA ambushed the laundry van, shooting dead the driver and spraying the roof space with gunfire.
After this Wright and McKee were taken across the border where they were held for six weeks before being shot dead and secretly buried.
Because both men were senior Provos the IRA decided to cover up their killings.
It was worried that news of their IRA betrayal would have a bad effect on morale.
TERRORIST IN A MINI-SKIRT WHO MARRIED A MOVIE STAR
DOLOURS Price remains a legendary figure within republican circles despite being branded a “dissident” by Sinn Fein supporters.
She’s remembered as the mini-skirted Old Bailey bomber who went on to marry a film star.
Price, now 59, was the first female admitted into the full ranks of the Provisional IRA in 1971.
She was a close confidante of Gerry Adams who was impressed with her good looks, university education, middle class upbringing and family history steeped in republicanism.
Throughout 1972 Price played a key role in transporting suspected informants from Belfast to their deaths and disappearance at the hands of an IRA unit in Monaghan.
The following year she led a nine-strong IRA team on a bombing campaign to England.
After blowing up the Old Bailey in London — an attack that injured 200 people — she was captured along with younger sister Marion and Gerry Kelly (now a Stormont junior minister) and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Price immediately embarked on a hunger strike that lasted 200 days.
The authorities force-fed her throughout the protest to keep her alive.
In 1975 Price was transferred to Armagh Women’s Prison.
In 1980 she was granted the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and freed on humanitarian grounds because of her battle with anorexia.
After her release she married Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea who was hired to speak the words of Gerry Adams during the Sinn Fein broadcasting ban.
Price fell out with Sinn Fein following the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
She has since been extremely critical of the party and the IRA’s decommissioning of weapons.
Price has admitted having a breakdown and battling post traumatic stress disorder — a direct consequence of her 30-year involvement with the IRA.
She now lives in a middle-class suburb in Dublin’s Malahide district.
Price recently gave a series of interviews to academics from Boston University about her role in the IRA.
These include admissions about her role in transporting some of the disappeared to their deaths.
The interviews were given on the basis that they will not be published until after her death.
She will meet later this week with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains in an effort to help them trace the remains of Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee.
BOOK BACKS UP PRICE CLAIMS
DELOURS Price’s claims about Gerry Adams’ role in the shameful Disappeared scandal follows previous claims about the Sinn Fein chief’s involvement made in the best-selling book A Secret History of the IRA by respected author Ed Maloney (pictured right).
Maloney states in the authoritative 2002 work that in his role as the IRA’s Belfast commander, Adams set up two secret cells to disappear suspected informants.
He said the cells in the north and west of the city were known in IRA folklore as “the unknowns”.
Referring to the Jean McConville murder he says: “Adams was very much at large at the time of Jean McConville’s disappearance and must have known all about the circumstances at the time.”
A second book by Maloney based on taped interviews with former IRA leader Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes will hit the shelves next month. Hughes, who died two years ago, talked specifically about the murder of his neighbour McConville.