An essay in the New Yorker magazine has named Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams as the mastermind behind a series of bombings in London in the 1970s.
Adams, who has always claimed he was never part of the IRA but remained on the political wing of the Republican fight against the British in Northern Ireland, has been named by Dolours Price, herself imprisoned for her involvement in the attack on key London landmarks and civilians, as present during the planning of the bombings.
Dolours and her sister Marian, nicknamed the ‘Crazy Prices’ after a shop in Belfast in the 70s, were two unlikely, glamorous terrorists who had grown up on the knee of their father, listening to stories of how as a teenager in the 1940s he had taken part in an IRA bombing campaign in England. And Marian regaled stories of how they used to light cigarettes for their aunt, Bridie Dolan, who lived with the family, and place them between her lips after she lost both hands and was blinded after accidentally dropping a cache of gelignite in an IRA explosives dump.
In the article titled ‘Where the bodies are buried’ former IRA member Price says Mr Adams presided over organisational meetings, approved the bombing campaign and warned those present that there could be a public backlash. The IRA had planted hundreds of bombs in Ulster but Dolours, remembering the tales of her father’s teenage days, argued for a bolder approach.
In a 2012 interview with the Telegraph, she said: “I was convinced that a short, sharp shock, an incursion into the heart of the empire, would be more effective than twenty car bombs in any part of the north of Ireland.”
The IRA campaign saw more than 35 bombs planted in the UK capital over the next 12 months.
She attended the strategy meeting along with her sister Marian and Brendan Hughes, the man who was said to have specifically organised and ordered executions, allowing Adams to keep one step removed from the trail of blood. According to all three, the meeting was run by Gerry Adams.
Generally, the IRA issued warnings before bombs were due to detonate in order to minimize civilian casualties although often there was not sufficient time to allow busy areas to be cleared. In July, 1972, twenty bombs were detonated in a single day in Belfast, killing nine people, an episode that became known as Bloody Friday.
22 year old Dolores was chosen to run the mission, which it is alleged Adams said “could be a hanging job”, explaining that if they were caught they could be executed for treason.
But they were not executed. Instead, British police arrested three people in the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport, preparing to board a flight to Dublin after a car bomb outside Scotland Yard had been deactivated and orders given to ‘close England’. A dark haired woman in a long coat, Dolours Price, appeared to be giving orders. When police questioned her she told them her name was Una Devlin. On examining her handbag, police found a note pad with several pages ripped out. On examination by experts, they discovered indentations of a diagram of a timing device: Dolours was arrested, as was Marian Price.
At the subsequent trial, the detective who interrogated Marian recalled that, at precisely 2:50 P.M. when the bombs were due to go off, “she raised her wrist and looked very pointedly at her watch, and smiled at me.”
The article also details the kidnapping and murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville, over whose murder the Sinn Fein leader was arrested last year.
The 37 year old widow, born a Protestant, was forcibly taken from her home in front of her children by her own neighbours, wearing balaclavas, accused of being an informant to the British Army.
Adams has always denied having played any part in the disappearance of Mrs McConville:”I had no act or part to play in either the abduction, the killing or the burial of Jean McConville or, indeed, any individuals,” he said at the time.
Her son, Michael McConville, says he knows who her killers are but will not give up their names for fear of retaliation against one of his family members or children.
The article also claims Adams sent IRA members to New York to procure assault rifles for use against the British Army.