Saturday 7 December 2019

IRA prisoner reignites row over Adams' role in bombing

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

SINN Fein President Gerry Adams has been called on to explain fresh claims he ordered a former IRA prisoner to carry out a bombing in England in 1980.

Former IRA prisoner Peter Rogers is alleging that he was instructed to carry out the bombing by Mr Adams and his Sinn Fein colleague Martin McGuinness.

While Mr McGuinness has admitted that he was a former IRA commander, Mr Adams has persistently denied that he was on the IRA army council.

Mr Rogers, who served 18 years of a life sentence for the murder of a detective garda, has told the BBC that the pair ordered him to transport explosives to Britain in 1980.

The Sunday Independent also recently confronted Mr Adams about Mr Rogers' allegations.

Last night, Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan demanded answers from Mr Adams, saying these were just the latest in a series of similar charges levelled against him.

"Senior Sinn Fein members consistently deny all knowledge of participation in illegal activity. These denials are wholly unconvincing," Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent last night.

"The leaders of Sinn Fein in the Dail now need to clarify these matters. These same people have designs on Cabinet seats in this republic," he added.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: "There is no truth in these allegations. Gerry Adams has already publicly refuted these claims."

Despite the denials, Sinn Fein is also facing calls north of the Border to address the allegations.

Mr Rogers (69) is a former IRA prisoner who escaped from the Maidstone Prison Ship in 1972.

Eight years later, he was jailed for the IRA murder of Detective Garda Seamus Quaid who was shot and killed in Co Wexford on October 13, 1980. Another officer was injured in the attack.

Democratic Unionist Party East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell claimed the republican leaders needed to come clean.

He asked: "How long will they continue their pretence? The terror happened, it is now over. They need to admit their part in it, face whatever consequences there may be and move on."

Mr Campbell added: "The Sinn Fein president has always denied being in the IRA while Mr McGuinness said he left in the early 1970s.

"The latest revelation from former IRA prisoner Peter Rogers that he had been instructed by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to carry out a bombing in England in 1980 is further evidence of Sinn Fein's attempt to live in denial about their past."

Irish Independent

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