Adams rejects claim he sanctioned 1973 Old Bailey bombing


SINN FÉIN president and Louth TD Gerry Adams has rejected claims by former IRA prisoner Dolours Price that he sanctioned the Old Bailey bombing in which one man died and more than 200 were injured.

Mr Adams denied claims made by Ms Price that he was a central figure in an IRA decision in the early 1970s to launch a bombing campaign in Britain.

Ms Price, who was convicted along with her sister Marian and other IRA members of the 1973 Old Bailey bombing, claimed in an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph that the London bombing campaign was approved by Mr Adams.

She said the idea to bomb London was hers and that Mr Adams was her officer commanding (OC) at the time. “I was convinced that a short, sharp shock, an incursion into the heart of the empire, would be more effective than 20 car bombs in any part of the North of Ireland,” she told the newspaper.

She said the plan was presented to Mr Adams and discussed and agreed by IRA commanders. She said Mr Adams then convened a meeting to find volunteers.

“Adams started talking and said it was a big, dangerous operation,” said Ms Price. “He said: ‘This could be a hanging job.’ He said: ‘If anyone doesn’t want to go they should up and leave now through the back door at 10-minute intervals.’ The ones that were left were the ones that went. I was left organising it, to be the OC of the whole shebang.”

In a statement Mr Adams responded, rejecting her claims. “I reject again, as I have consistently rejected, the allegations contained in the Sunday Telegraph interview.”

A party spokesman added that Mr Adams had consistently denied that he was in the IRA and by extension denied allegations by Ms Price.

“Dolours Price is not very friendly towards Sinn Féin these days; she is an anti-peace process republican,” the spokesman said.

More than 200 people were injured in the Old Bailey bombing, some seriously. One man died from a heart attack.

Members of the IRA unit convicted of the Old Bailey bombing, including Dolours and Marian Price, went on hunger strike, which involved force feeding and lasted more than 200 days. The prisoners were repatriated to serve their sentences in Northern Ireland.

The licence releasing Marian Price from her Old Bailey conviction was revoked by former Northern secretary Owen Paterson in May last year and she was returned to prison because of alleged dissident republican activity. On medical recommendation she was transferred from Maghaberry Prison to Hydebank Prison in Belfast in February this year and then in June was moved to a Belfast hospital under guard and still in custody.