Hundreds attend Price funeral

Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 00:00

Several hundred mourners attended the funeral of Dolours Price (61) in west Belfast today. 

The funeral Mass took place in St Agnes's Church in Andersonstown where the chief mourners were her children Danny and Oscar, actor Stephen Rea who is her former husband,   her sister Clare and brother Damian Price.

Her younger sister Marian, with whom she was convicted and imprisoned for the 1973 Old Bailey bombings, did not attend. She had been granted compassionate leave to attend the wake at the Price family home in Andersonstown yesterday morning.

Marian Price remains in hospital custody after the licence under which she was released for the Old Bailey bombings was revoked by former Northern secretary Owen Paterson.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams had already stated he would not be attending the funeral. However writer and former Sinn Fein publicity chief Danny Morrison did attend as did the Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey.

Dolours Price had long been disenchanted with the Sinn Féin leadership and believed the peace process was a sellout.

She claimed Mr Adams was her Belfast commanding IRA officer at the time of the Old Bailey bombings. She said he was her "OC" when she was part of a IRA team that drove mother-of-10 Jean McConville across the Border and ultimately to her death. Mr Adams has repeatedly denied these claims.

Black flags were placed on poles along the Andersonstown Road during the funeral.

Her coffin, draped in the Tricolour, was carried from the family home at Slievegullion Drive just a few hundred yards from the church. It was led by a lone piper who played Raglan Road as the cortège left the house. At the house, among those taking the first lift of the coffin were Stephen Rea and Danny and Oscar Rea.

The chief celebrant was Msgr Raymond Murray, who was chaplain at Armagh Prison where the Price sisters were held after their repatriation from prison in England.

Also attending the funeral Mass was Hugh Feeney, one of the Old Bailey bombers.

Also present was Dr Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA prisoner and a researcher for the Boston College Troubles interviews project. Controversy still surrounds interviews Dolours Price gave to the project, with the PSNI seeking access to the tapes, although this has been resisted up to Supreme Court level in the United States.

Msgr Murray in his homily recalled how, before joining the IRA, Dolours Price was involved in the civil rights movement, was a member of People's Democracy and was on the PD march in 1969 when it was attacked by loyalists at Burntollet. "She was thrown into the river when it was attacked," he said.

Mgsr Murray said there was never a period since her imprisonment and force-fed hunger strike in prison in England when she was not ill. He said she and Marian Price were like "bosom twins".

Msgr Murray said Dolours Price was a woman of considerable talents, interested in the arts, literature and philosophy. "She was clever and witty and full of fun, and she held people in thrall by her conversation," he added.

The funeral cortège this afternoon made its way to Milltown Cemetery for her interment.

Ms Price was found dead at her home in Malahide, Co Dublin, on Wednesday night. Her death is not being treated as suspicious.