No Garda enquiry into Dolours Price death

Fri, Jan 25, 2013, 00:00

Gardaí say they are not conducting any investigation into the death of Dolours Price, who has been found dead in her Co Dublin home.

Ms Price is understood to have died suddenly late on Wednesday at her address in Malahide, a Garda spokesman said last night.

“It’s up to the coroner now,” he said. A postmortem is now expected.

Along with her younger sister Marian, Ms Price (61) was convicted in connection with the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in central London in March 1973. More than 200 people were injured in the attack and one man died later.

The sisters went on hunger strike in prison following their arrest and were force-fed for more than 200 days of their protest. They were eventually moved to an Irish prison the following year.

Gerry Kelly, now a senior Sinn Féin leader and a former Stormont minister, was also among the group arrested following the bombing. He was detained along with the Price sisters on their attempted return to Belfast.

In a series of interviews last year Ms Price, an opponent of Sinn Féin and the peace process, alleged she had been involved in the abduction of widowed mother of 10 Jean McConville, who was secretly murdered and buried by the IRA in Co Louth in 1972. She further alleged her orders were given by Gerry Adams, now Sinn Féin president and a Louth TD. Mr Adams has always denied involvement in the IRA and in the disappearance of Ms McConville.

Her testimony has been recorded by historical researchers at Boston College in Massachusetts on condition it would not be made available until after her death. The oral history project has taken evidence from a series of republican and loyalist former paramilitaries, including IRA member Brendan McFarlane and the late UVF member David Ervine, who led the small Progressive Unionist Party.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is involved in a legal bid to have the college make the Price tapes available to them. However, the US supreme court has applied a stay on the applications.

Last night two writers close to the oral history project said they did not anticipate the tapes being released. Ed Moloney, author of Voices from the Grave, and Kevin Winters, solicitor for academic and former IRA member Anthony McIntyre, claimed the death of Ms Price would have no effect on the withholding of the tapes.

Mr Moloney said the tapes would remain confidential “until the US supreme court says otherwise”. Mr Winters said Ms Price’s death could prompt fresh legal bids to have her evidence made public, but added the court stay would remain in force “for the foreseeable future”.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Adams said he felt no bitterness towards Ms Price.

“I want to express my profound sadness at the news of the death of Dolours Price. I want to extend my sincere condolences to her family and especially to her two sons, Danny and Oscar, and her sister Marian,” he said.

“I have known Dolours for a very long time. She endured great hardship during her time in prison in the 1970s, enduring a hunger strike which included forcefeeding for over 200 days.”