Monday 23 October 2017

Kevin Myers: 'I was captivated by Dolours Price – what a terrible waste of a life'

DOLOURS Price was one of the most enchanting, beautiful, bewitching women I have ever met. She and her sister Marian possessed in their youth a glorious inner glow that Kodak's light-sensitive chemicals strove in vain to capture. I first saw them illuminating an anti-internment rally in Casement Park in Belfast in 1971. And the only thought in my mind was not of internment, but Who The Hell Are They? Of course, Andersonstown people knew them: the daughters of one of the foremost local republicans, the strangely named Albert Price. We all stood there in the rain (as I remember), a huge herd of gnus, gazing entranced upon these two wide-eyed gazelles.

I only discovered their identity after they were arrested and convicted of the Old Bailey bombing, in March 1973, in which 200 people were injured. (Imagine the scenes in unprepared hospitals, with TWO HUNDRED bleeding bodies to staunch and to bind.) Had another of their bombs, outside New Scotland Yard, exploded, scores might have died.

I don't believe that, at the time, the Price sisters really cared, for they had been truly enthralled by the toxins, the thrills and the diseased morality of the Provisional IRA. Like many of their generation, they were hellbent on achieving the utterly unattainable: a united Ireland by force of arms. I knew a couple of their IRA Andersonstown colleagues, Mairead Farrell and Sean McDermott: intelligent and likeable, yet driven by a fearsome and quite lethal intensity, they did not expect to survive the struggle, and their fatalism was duly justified.

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