Sunday 18 August 2019

Adams tells inquest he was never in the IRA

Former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast to give evidence as the inquest continues into the series of incidents between 9 and 11 August 1971, in which the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment killed eleven civilians in Ballymurphy, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast to give evidence as the inquest continues into the series of incidents between 9 and 11 August 1971, in which the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment killed eleven civilians in Ballymurphy, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Rebecca Black

Gerry Adams has repeated his denial that he was a member of the IRA, but said he will never disassociate himself from the organisation.

The former Sinn Féin president was giving evidence to a fresh inquest into the killing of 10 people in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast in 1971.

The episode dubbed the 'Ballymurphy massacre' started on August 9 as the British army moved into republican strongholds to arrest IRA suspects after the introduction by the Stormont administration of the controversial policy of internment without trial.

A new inquest at Belfast Coroner's Court is examining the deaths of 10 civilians, including a Catholic priest and a mother of eight, between August 9 and 11.

Claims that IRA gunmen were in the area at the time have been disputed during the inquest hearings. David Heraghty, counsel for coroner Siobhan Keegan, put it to the Louth TD that he was a senior member of the IRA in the area at the time.

Mr Adams responded: "I was not a member of the IRA, I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will until the day I die.

"I understand that victims of the IRA won't like what I am saying… I deeply regret there was a war."

A barrister for the Ministry of Defence pressed Mr Adams, suggesting he was sworn into D Company of the IRA in 1966. Mr Adams responded: "That's not correct."

The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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