Dolours and her sister, Marian, also an IRA member, were the daughters of Albert Price, a prominent Irish republican and former IRA member from Belfast. Their aunt, Bridie Dolan, was blinded and lost both hands in an accident handling IRA explosives.
Copyright : Victor Patterson
Price became involved in Irish republicanism in the late 1960s and joined the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s. She participated in the car bombing of the Old Bailey in London on 8 March 1973, which injured over 200 people and is believed to have contributed to the death of one person who suffered a fatal heart attack.
The two sisters were arrested, along with Gerry Kelly, Hugh Feeney and six others, on the day of the bombing, as they were boarding a flight to Ireland. They were tried and convicted at the Great Hall in Winchester Castle on 14 November 1973. Although originally sentenced to life imprisonment, which was to run concurrently for each criminal charge, their sentence was eventually reduced to 20 years. Price served seven years for her part in the bombing.
She immediately went on a hunger strike demanding to be moved to a prison in Northern Ireland. The hunger strike lasted for 208 days because the hunger strikers were force-fed by prison authorities to keep them alive.
– Disclaimer –
The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.
On the back of the hunger-striking campaign, her father contested West Belfast at the UK General Election of February 1974, receiving 5,662 votes (11.9%). The Price sisters, Hugh Feeney, and Gerry Kelly were moved to Northern Ireland prisons in 1975 as a result of an IRA truce. In 1980 Price received the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and was freed on humanitarian grounds in 1981, purportedly suffering from anorexia nervosa due to the invasive trauma of daily force feedings.
The Price sisters remained active politically. In the late 1990s, Price and her sister claimed that they had been threatened by their former colleagues in the IRA and Sinn Féin for publicly opposing the Good Friday Agreement i.e. the cessation of the IRA’s military campaign. Price was a contributor to The Blanket, an online journal, edited by former Provisional IRA member Anthony McIntyre, until it ceased publication in 2008.
After her release in 1980, she married Irish actor Stephen Rea, with whom she had two sons, Danny and Oscar.
They divorced in 2003.
In 2001, Price was arrested in Dublin and charged with possession of stolen prescription pads and forged prescriptions. She pleaded guilty and was fined £200 and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
She was the subject of the 2018 feature-length documentary I, Dolours in which she gave an extensive filmed interview.
Allegations against Gerry Adams
In 2010 Price claimed Gerry Adams had been her officer commanding when she was active in the IRA. Adams, who has always denied being a member of the IRA, denied her allegation. Price admitted taking part in the murder of Jean McConville, as part of an IRA action in 1972.
She claimed the murder of McConville, a mother of 10, was ordered by Adams when he was an IRA leader in West Belfast. Adams subsequently publicly further denied Price’s allegations, stating that the reason for them was that she was opposed to the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s abandonment of paramilitary warfare in favour of politics in 1994, in the facilitation of which Adams had been a key figure.
Boston College tapes
Voices from the Grave
Oral historians at Boston College interviewed both Dolours Price and her fellow IRA paramilitary Brendan Hughes between 2001 and 2006, the two giving detailed interviews for the historical record of the activities in the IRA, which were recorded on condition that the content of the interviews was not to be released during their lifetimes. Prior to Price’s death, in May 2011, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) subpoenaed the material, possibly as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a number of people in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.
In June 2011, the college filed a motion to quash the subpoena. A spokesman for the college stated that “our position is that the premature release of the tapes could threaten the safety of the participants, the enterprise of oral history, and the ongoing peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland.”
In July 2011, US federal prosecutors asked a judge to require the college to release the tapes to comply with treaty obligations with the United Kingdom.
On 17 October 2012, the United States Supreme Court temporarily blocked the College from handing over the interview tapes. In January 2013 Price died, and in April 2013, the Supreme Court turned away an appeal that sought to keep the interviews from being supplied to the PSNI. The order left in place a lower court ruling that ordered Boston College to give the Justice Department portions of recorded interviews with Dolours Price. Federal officials wanted to forward the recordings to police investigating the murder of Jean McConville.
On 24 January 2013 Price was found dead at her Malahide, County Dublin home, from a toxic effect of mixing prescribed sedative and anti-depressant medication. The inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure.
A True Story Of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland
One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of this terrible crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades.
In this powerful, scrupulously reported book, Patrick Radden Keefe offers not just a forensic account of a brutal crime but a vivid portrait of the world in which it happened. The tragedy of an entire country is captured in the spellbinding narrative of a handful of characters, presented in lyrical and unforgettable detail.
A poem by Seamus Heaney inspires the title: ‘Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’. By defying the culture of silence, Keefe illuminates how a close-knit society fractured; how people chose sides in a conflict and turned to violence; and how, when the shooting stopped, some ex-combatants came to look back in horror at the atrocities they had committed, while others continue to advocate violence even today.
Say Nothing deftly weaves the stories of Jean McConville and her family with those of Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA as a front-line soldier, who bombed the Old Bailey when barely out of her teens; Gerry Adams, who helped bring an end to the fighting, but denied his own IRA past; Brendan Hughes, a fearsome IRA commander who turned on Adams after the peace process and broke the IRA’s code of silence; and other indelible figures. By capturing the intrigue, the drama and the profound human cost of the Troubles, the book presents a searing chronicle of the lengths that people are willing to go to in pursuit of a political ideal, and the ways in which societies mend – or don’t – in the aftermath of a long and bloody conflict.
Im currently reading this & will do a review when complete
I, DOLOURS Trailer (2018) Militant IRA Activist Portrait
… Máire Drumm Life & death 22 October 1919 – 28 October 1976 Máire Drumm (22 October 1919 – 28 October 1976) was the vice-president of Sinn Féin and a commander in Cumann na mBan. She was killed by Ulster loyalists while recovering from an eye operation in Belfast’s Mater Hospital. Born in Newry, County Down, to a staunchly Irish republican family. Drumm’s mother had … Continue reading Máire Drumm: Life & Death→
Death of Robert Hamill Robert Hamill was an Irish Catholic civilian who was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Hamill and his friends were attacked on 27 April 1997 on the town’s main street. It has been claimed that the local Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), parked a short … Continue reading Death of Robert Hamill: 27th April 1997→
John Bingham Life & Death John Dowey Bingham (c. 1953 – 14 September 1986) was a prominent Northern Irish loyalist who led “D Company” (Ballysillan), 1st Battalion, Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). He was shot dead by the Provisional IRA after they had broken into his home. Bingham was one of a number of prominent UVF members to be assassinated during the 1980s, … Continue reading John Bingham UVF : Life & Death→
Dawn of the Troubles – August 1969 Northern Ireland History During 12–16 August 1969, there was an outbreak of political and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which is often seen as the beginning of the thirty-year conflict known as the Troubles. There had been sporadic violence throughout the year arising out of the civil rights … Continue reading Dawn of the Troubles – August 1969: Northern Ireland History→
Ian Reginald Edward Gow Ian Reginald Edward Gow TD 11 February 1937 – 30 July 1990) was a British Conservative politician and solicitor. While serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Eastbourne, he was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), who exploded a bomb under his car outside his home in East Sussex. Early life Ian Gow was born at 3 Upper Harley Street, London, the … Continue reading Ian Gow : Assassinated by the IRA 3oth July 1990→
The Shameful & Unforgivable Murder of a Widow & Mother of Ten
Jean McConville (née Murray; 7 May 1934 – December 1972) was a woman from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who was kidnapped and shot dead by the Provisional IRA and secretly buried in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland in 1972 after being accused by the IRA of passing information to British forces.
In 1999, the IRA acknowledged that it had killed McConville and eight others of the “Disappeared”.
It claimed she had been passing information about republicans to the British Army in exchange for money and that a transmitter had been found in her apartment.
A report by the Police Ombudsman found no evidence for this or other rumours. Before the Troubles, the IRA had a policy of killing informers within its own ranks; however, from the start of the conflict the term informer was also used for civilians who were suspected of providing information on paramilitary organisations to the security forces. Other Irish republican and loyalist paramilitaries also carried out such killings.
As she was a widowed mother of ten, the McConville killing was particularly controversial. Her body was not found until 2003, and the crime has not been solved. The Police Ombudsman found that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did not begin to investigate the disappearance properly until 1995.
Jean Murray was born on 7 May 1934 to a Protestant family in East Belfast but converted after marrying Arthur McConville, a Catholic former British Army soldier, with whom she had ten children. After being intimidated out of a Protestant district by loyalists in 1969, the McConville family moved to West Belfast’s Divis Flats in the Lower Falls Road. Arthur died from cancer in January 1972.
At the time of her death, Jean McConville lived at 1A St Jude’s Walk, which was part of the Divis Flats complex. This was an IRA stronghold, from which attacks were regularly launched against the British Army and RUC. Since the death of her husband, she had been raising their ten children, who were aged between six and twenty.
Their son Robbie was a member of the ‘Official’ IRA and was interned in Long Kesh at the time of her death; he would defect to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1974.
In the months leading up to her death, tension and suspicion grew between McConville and her neighbours. One night shortly before her disappearance, she was allegedly attacked after leaving a bingo hall and warned to stop giving information to the British Army.
According to police records, on 29 November 1972 a British Army unit found a distressed woman wandering in the street. She told them her name was McConville and that she had been attacked and warned to stop informing.
One of McConville’s children claimed she was kidnapped the night after this incident, but others gave the date of the kidnapping as 7 December.
On the night of her disappearance, four young women took McConville from her home at gunpoint, and she was driven to an unknown location. Dolours Price admitted that she was one of those involved in driving her across the border.
McConville was killed by a gunshot to the back of the head, there was no evidence of any other injuries to her body.
Her body was secretly buried across the border on Shellinghill Beach (also known as Templetown Beach) on the Cooley Peninsula in the north of County Louth, about 50 miles from her home. The place of her death is uncertain.
Although no group admitted responsibility for her disappearance, there were rumours that the IRA had killed her for being an informer. Another rumour is that she was killed because neighbours claimed they saw her helping a badly wounded British soldier outside her home; however, there is no record of such an incident.
McConville’s children say they recall her helping a wounded British soldier some time before their father died in January 1972.
In a 2014 interview published in the Sunday Life, former veteran Irish republican Evelyn Gilroy claimed the person who had tended to the soldier was her [Gilroy’s] sister.
The IRA did not admit involvement until after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. It claimed she was killed because she was passing information about republicans to the British Army. Former IRA member Brendan Hughes claimed the IRA had searched her flat some time before her death and found a radio transmitter, which they confiscated.
He and other former republicans interrogated her and claimed she admitted the British Army was paying her for information about republicans. Hughes claims that, because of her circumstances, they let her go with a warning. However, he claims when the IRA found she had resumed working for the British Army, it decided to “execute” her.
Reluctant to kill a clearly desperate woman – not least because of the adverse publicity it would engender – the Brigade HQ Staff allowed McConville to live, albeit with a warning of fatal consequences should she be caught spying again. By December their patience was ended and after a short discussion over “banishment” versus “execution” her death was ordered through a majority vote. Among those supporting the latter option was the brigade OC or officer commanding,
Gerry Adams. However the manner of her killing was hotly debated. There were continuing fears that the acknowledged detention and killing by (P)IRA of a widowed mother of ten children (including a young political prisoner) would have a disastrous effect on support for the movement; that it would be exploited by Britain’s well-oiled propaganda-machine, as well as Republican rivals in (O)IRA; and that the slaying could reduce moral among local Volunteers. In the end those favouring a “public execution” were out-voted by those supporting a secret death sentence and “disappearance”, a solution which would have the added benefit of sowing confusion amongst their adversaries in the British intelligence groupings.
This was a practice that was already beginning to take root – albeit intermittently and with a great deal of controversy – in the conflict-cockpit of Belfast. In this decision it seems that Gerry Adams was again in the majority camp.
Usually the bodies of informers were left in public as a warning, but the IRA secretly buried McConville, apparently because she was a widowed mother-of-ten. The IRA had first done this two months earlier, when it killed and buried two IRA members who were found to be working undercover for the British Military Reaction Force (MRF).
After her disappearance, McConville’s seven youngest children, including six-year-old twins, survived on their own in the flat, cared for by their 15-year-old sister Helen. After three weeks, the hungry family was visited by a stranger, who gave them Jean’s purse, with 52 pence and her three rings in it.
On 16 January 1973, the story of the abduction appeared on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph, under the headline:
“Snatched mother missing a month”
The following day, the children were interviewed on the BBC television programme Scene Around Six. The children reported to the social services, and were immediately brought into local council care.
The family was forcibly split up by social services.Among the consequences of the killing, Jean’s orphaned son Billy was sent to De La Salle Boys’ Home, Rubane House, Kircubbin, County Down, notorious for child abuse; he testified in 2014 to the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, describing repeated sexual and physical abuse, and starvation, saying :
“Christians looking after young boys – maybe they were Christians, but to me they were devils disguised in that uniform.”
Within two days of her kidnapping, one of her sons reported the incident to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the British Army. However, the Police Ombudsman did not find any trace of an investigation into the kidnapping during the 1970s or 1980s.
An officer told the Ombudsman that CID investigations in that area of Belfast at that time were “restricted to the most serious cases”. On 2 January 1973, the RUC received two pieces of information stating:
“it is rumoured that Jean McConville had been abducted by the [IRA] because she is an informer”
In March 1973, information was received from the British Army, saying the kidnapping was an elaborate hoax and that McConville had left of her own free will. As a result, the RUC refused to accept that McConville was missing, preferring to believe an anonymous tip that she had absconded with a British soldier.
The first investigation into her kidnapping appears to have taken place in 1995, when a team of RUC detectives was established to review the cases of all those who were thought to have been kidnapped during the conflict.
In 1999, the IRA gave information on the whereabouts of her body. This prompted a prolonged search, co-ordinated by the Garda Síochána, the Irish police service, but no body was found. On the night of 26 August 2003, a storm washed away part of the embankment supporting the west side of Shellinghill Beach car park, near the site of previous searches. This exposed the body.
On 27 August, it was found by passersby while they were walking on Shellinghill Beach (also known as Templetown Beach) in County Louthat the eastern tip of the Cooley Peninsula. McConville was subsequently reburied beside her husband Arthur in Holy Trinity Graveyard in Lisburn.
Police Ombudsman’s report
In April 2004 the inquest into McConville’s death returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
In 2006 the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Nuala O’Loan, published a report about the police’s investigation of the murder. It concluded that the RUC did not investigate the murder until 1995, when it carried out a minor investigation. It found no evidence that she had been an informer, but recommended the British Government go against its long-standing policy regarding informers and reveal whether she was one.
Journalist Ed Moloney called for the British Government to release war diaries relating to the Divis Flats area at the time. War diaries are usually released under the thirty-year rule, but those relating to Divis at the time of McConville’s death are embargoed for almost ninety years.
The police have since apologised for its failure to investigate her abduction. In January 2005, Sinn Féin party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin claimed that the killing of McConville was not a crime, saying that she had been executed as a spy in a war situation.
This prompted Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole to write a rebuttal, arguing that the abduction and extrajudicial killing of McConville was clearly a:
“war crime by all accepted national and international standards”
The IRA has since issued a general apology, saying it :
“regrets the suffering of all the families whose loved ones were killed and buried by the IRA”.
PSNI investigation and Boston College tapes
In August 2006, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Sir Hugh Orde, stated that he was not hopeful anyone would be brought to justice over the murder, saying:
“[in] any case of that age, it is highly unlikely that a successful prosecution could be mounted.”
Boston College had launched an oral history project on the Troubles in 2001. It recorded interviews with republicans and loyalists about their involvement in the conflict, on the understanding that the tapes would not be released until after their deaths.
Two of the republican interviewees, Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, both now deceased, admitted they were involved in McConville’s kidnapping. Both became diehard opponents of the Good Friday Agreement and Sinn Féin’s support of it. They saw Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams as a traitor for negotiating the Agreement and persuading the IRA to end its campaign.
In 2010, after Hughes’s death, some of his statements were published in the book Voices from the Grave. He claimed McConville had admitted being an informer, and that Adams ordered her disappearance.
In a 2010 newspaper article, Price also claimed McConville was an informer and that Adams ordered her disappearance, which has been strenuously denied by Ed Moloney. Price, who died in 2013, said she gave the interviews as revenge against Adams. Former republican prisoner Evelyn Gilroy, who lived near McConville, claimed Adams was an IRA commander and the only person who could have ordered the killing.
Adams has denied any role in the death of McConville. He said:
“the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family”
In 2011, the PSNI began a legal bid to gain access to the tapes. Acting on a request from the PSNI, the United States Justice Department tried to force Boston College to hand them over. Boston College had promised those interviewed that the tapes would not be released until after their deaths, and other interviewees said they feared retribution if the tapes were released. Following a lengthy court battle, the PSNI was given transcripts of interviews by Hughes and Price.
In March and April 2014, the PSNI arrested a number of people over the kidnapping and killing of Jean McConville. Ivor Bell, former IRA Chief of Staff, was arrested in March 2014. Shortly afterwards, he was charged with aiding and abetting in her murder.
In April, the PSNI arrested three people who were teenagers at the time of the kidnapping: a 56-year-old man and two women, aged 57 and 60. All were released without charge.
Following Bell’s arrest in March, there was media speculation that police would want to question Gerry Adams due to the claims made by Hughes and Price. Adams maintained he was not involved, but had his solicitor contact the PSNI to find whether they wanted to question him.
On 30 April, after being contacted by the PSNI, Adams voluntarily arranged to be interviewed at Antrim PSNI Station. He was arrested and questioned for four days before being released without charge. A file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to decide whether further action should be taken, but there was “insufficient evidence” to charge him.
The arrest took place during an election campaign. Sinn Féin claimed that the timing of the arrest was politically motivated; an attempt to harm the party’s chances in the upcoming elections. Alex Maskey said it was evidence of a “political agenda […] a negative agenda” by elements of the PSNI.
Jean McConville’s family had campaigned for the arrest of Adams over the murder. Her son Michael said:
“Me and the rest of my brothers and sisters are just glad to see the PSNI doing their job. We didn’t think it would ever take place [Mr Adams’ arrest], but we are quite glad that it is taking place.”
In a later interview on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, he stated that he knew the names of those who had abducted and killed his mother, but that:
“I wouldn’t tell the police [PSNI]. If I told the police now a thing, me or one of my family members or one of my children would get shot by those [IRA] people. It’s terrible that we know those people and we can’t bring them to justice”
Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles
Tuesday 7 December 1971
An off duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in County Tyrone.
Friday 7 December 1979
Charles Haughey replaced Jack Lynch as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). The Fiannia Fáil parliamentary party voted by 44 votes to 38 in favour of Haughey.
Tuesday 7 December 1982
The Irish Supreme Court made a ruling which opened up the possibility of extradition between the Republic and the United Kingdom (UK). The court rejected the claim that paramilitary offences were politically motivated.
Wednesday 7 December 1983
Edgar Graham, then a Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly member, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Graham was also a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the university
Saturday 7 December 1985
Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were shot dead during an attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on the RUC base at Ballygawley, County Tyrone.
Wednesday 7 December 1994
The European Commission agreed the funding of a £230 million aid programme for Northern Ireland and also border counties in the Republic of Ireland. The funding was to be spread over the following three years.
Thursday 7 December 1995
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement which said that the British government
“has sought only to frustrate movement into inclusive negotiations … there is no question of the IRA meeting the ludicrous demand for a surrender of IRA weapons”.
Sunday 7 December 1997
At Dunloy, County Antrim, a ‘suspect device’ was found near the Orange Order Hall on the outskirts of the village. The device was made safe. Members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) held a religious service at the Orange Hall but did not attempt to march through the village. Mary McAleese, then President of the Republic of Ireland, broke new ecumenical ground when she took communion at a Church of Ireland service in Christ Church, Dublin.
[The decision caused a debate in the Catholic church with a number of senior figures criticising the President over the coming days and weeks.]
Monday 7 December 1998
There were reports that members of the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA), which was on ceasefire, were offering assistance to the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) the only Republican paramilitary group not on ceasefire.
Tuesday 7 December 1999
There was a series of walk-outs by pupils at state (Protestant) schools in protest at the appointment of Martin McGuinness as Minister of Education. Protests were held in Carrickergus, Cookstown, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, and the Shankill Road in Belfast.
McGuinness claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was orchestrating the protests. The DUP denied the claim. Gary McMichael, then leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), denied that there was a split within the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) over whether or not appoint an interlocutor to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).
Thursday 7 December 2000
There were two pipe-bomb attacks on the homes of Catholic families in Coleraine, County Derry. As a result of these attacks, and earlier ones, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) requested the deployment of British Army (BA) patrols in the town. A 30 year old man was alone in the kitchen of his home on Lilic Avenue when a pipe-bomb exploded in the back garden after bouncing off the kitchen window. The attacks were carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries.
Friday 7 December 2001
John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was awarded the Mahatma Ghandi Peace Prize by the India government.
Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles
Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die
– Thomas Campbell
To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever
– To the Paramilitaries –
There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.
9 People lost their lives on the 7th December between 1971 – 1993
07 December 1971 Denis Wilson, (31)
Protestant Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his home, Curlagh, near Caledon, County Tyrone.
07 December 1972
Ernest Elliott, (28)
Protestant Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Found shot in back of abandoned car, off Donegall Avenue, Village, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association dispute.
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Abducted from her home, St. Judes Walk, Divis, Belfast. Her remains eventually recovered, on general instructions from the IRA, buried at Shelling Hill beach, near Carlingford, Co. Louth, on 27 August 2003.
07 December 1974
Ethel Lynch, (22)
Catholic Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died five days after being injured in premature bomb explosion in house, Crawford Square, Derry.
07 December 1974
John McDaid, (16)
Catholic Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion in derelict house, Bridge Street, Derry.
07 December 1983
Edgar Graham, (29)
Protestant Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member. Shot outside his workplace, Queen’s University, University Square, Belfast
07 December 1985
William Clements, (52)
Protestant Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun attack on Ballygawley Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Tyrone
07 December 1985
George Gilliland, (34)
Protestant Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),
Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during gun attack on Ballygawley Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Tyrone.
07 December 1993 Robert McClay, (38)
Catholic Status: Civilian (Civ),
Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot at his home, Hillview Avenue, Ballyhackamore, Belfast.
Finally some good News in what has no doubt been a long and never ending nightmare for the families of the “Missing” those secretly killed and buried in unmarked graves , mainly due to Republican & Loyalist paranoia.
To lose a family member in an act of terrorism is an open wound that never heals and never ends – but to be killed due to paranoia and accused of being a tout or spy or worse – a pawn in political and paramilitary espionage , is a stain that engulfs your entire family and mentally abuses and mocks you daily. The grief of separation is suppressed and the stigma of guilt hangs over you like a dark cloud and the local community whisper and point behind your back.
Such was the life of the families of the Disappeared in the sectarian Badlands of West Belfast & throughout Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Now at least an end for one families misery – who will be given the spiritual healing of closure , a Christian burial and the beginning of a life that can only get better , although grief never leaves us completely .
Sometimes it seems to me The Gods love to ignore the suffering of mortal man and yet we follow them blindly in the hope of a protection that seldom comes.
There are STILL four more ( including Lisa Dorrian ) that remain missing. They are Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Army Capt Robert Nairac.
Columba McVeigh Joe Lynskey
Capt Robert Nairac
Lets hope that soon they can all be returned to their families and laid to rest in eternal peace.
Human remains found in France in search for ‘disappeared’ Seamus Ruddy
Human remains have been found at the site in northern France where a search has been taking place for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of the Disappeared.
News that human remains had been uncovered came early on Saturday morning.
Investigators from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains have been digging at the site in a forest near Rouen since Monday.
Mr Ruddy was working as a teacher in Paris in 1985.
He was murdered by republican paramilitaries, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), and secretly buried.
The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
1yr anniversary of disappearance of 43 Mexican students. I’ve written to the Ambassador with investigation concerns
Whilst for once I agree with him in that something should be done about these poor Mexican students , what about The Disappeared from Northern Ireland ? – which is a bit closer to home and should be receiving his attention above these unfortunate students.
I’m sure it wouldn’t tax him too much to pick up the phone and ask his best buddies Adam & McGuiness to have a word with their “mates” about the whereabouts of the remains of these innocent victims of Republican paranoia.
But wait , I had almost forgotten that Adam’s & McGuiness are now states men and working for the good of the peace process. In fact they are in such denial that I’m sure they honestly believe that they have nothing to feel guilty about and have no regrets about their dodgy past.
Well in my book these two vile humans being represent the worst of the Troubles and the fact that they are now living comfortable lives and have a say in the running of Northern Ireland disgust me and I’m sure many others in mainland Britain. and Northern Ireland would agree. They are both drenched in the blood of the innocent and no matter what they say or do will never change my attitude towards these two IRA thugs.
But I digress – apologies for that – but my revulsion of these two is all consuming and sometimes I get carried away and go off track. The point I was trying to make is that Corbyn needs to look closer to home and use his influence with SinnFein/IRA to bring some closure to the issue of The Disappeared of Northern Ireland and perhaps in doing so he can give the families a little comfort and a chance to give their loved one’s a Christian Burial.
It is the very least they deserve!
Please see below for an article on The Disappeared –
The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
Gerry Adams sparks outrage as he says abduction and murder of Jean McConville is ‘what happens in wars’
Despite extensive and painstaking searches, the bodies have never been found of four out of 16 people listed by the commission set up to locate victims’ remains.
Searches have been carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, established in 1999 by treaty between the British and Irish governments to obtain information in strictest confidence that may lead to where the bodies are buried.
16 people, all Catholics, including one British Army officer, all males, except for Mrs. Jean McConville, are believed to have been kidnapped and killed by republicans during the Troubles. The Provisional IRA admitted to being involved in the forced disappearance of nine of the sixteen – Eamon Molloy, Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, and Danny McIlhone. British Army officer, Robert Nairac, who disappeared from South Armagh, was a Mauritius-born Roman Catholic.
The organisation said they could only accurately locate the body of one of their victims, but gave rough ideas for the remaining eight. As of November 2013 only seven bodies have been found.
Another Catholic victim, Gareth O’Connor, is believed to have been killed by the IRA after the Good Friday Agreement. Lisa Dorrian, a young Catholic woman, is believed to have been killed by Loyalists, taking the total number of ‘Disappeared’ up to eighteen.
Who are they?
Disappeared from his home in Twinbrook, Belfast on 8th April 1978.
Found: His body was recovered on 1st October 2014
Brendan, by his family…
When Brendan disappeared on Saturday 8th April 1978, he was 23 years old. He was 5ft 8in tall and had very dark brown hair, which he wore long as that was the style at the time. He also had sideburns, a thin brown moustache and blue eyes.
Brendan was very much his own man. He didn’t like being told what to do. He was very particular about his appear-ance; always had a shine on his shoes. He had attended St Finians and La Salle schools and he had served on the altar at Clonard. He worked at a number of different jobs—hotel work, in a carpet factory and a sign making com-pany, which he enjoyed but for a variety of reasons were not long-term.
Brendan was happily married for almost a year and he was living for the day of the birth of his daughter and being a dad. Within his own band of friends Brendan would have been talkative with a mischievous sense of humour. At lar-ger gatherings or more formal social occasions, Brendan would have been quieter. He was a friendly person who en-joyed life and just wanted to have a good time.
As his mum always said, “he was motorbike mad”. He enjoyed taking them apart, fixing them, cleaning them and racing them. He went for day trips on the bike with his friends or to the races at Kirkstown/Dundrod. Brendan was al-ways engrossed in cars and kept his MG Midget spotlessly clean. His two pet hates were football and politics.
His friends described him as a good friend who could be relied upon and he was good company.
Eamon disappeared 1st July 1975.
Found: His body located on the 28th May 1999 at Old Faughart Cemetery, four miles outside Dundalk
Eamon, by his family…
“Eamon was of average size. He was 21 years old when he disappeared. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes. Eamon was very thoughtful to others less fortunate than himself. He was a shy young man and was easily embarrassed when he was younger but he grew out of that as he got older”.
“He loved playing snooker and he was learning to play the mandolin at the time of his disappearance”.
“He had so many friends. Some of them still call to see me and they talk about things that happened when they were young and the things that happened in school. They still talk about how they miss him and the fun they all used to have together”.
Brian disappeared 25th May 1978.
Found: His body was located on 29th June 1999 at Colgagh, Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan along with John McClory’s body. John McClory had been kidnapped an hour earlier
Brian, by his family…
“Brian was small and his nickname was “Bru” because of Brian Bru was a giant and he was so small. He had dark brown hair, which he loved, and he kept it well groomed. He was 22 years old when he was taken away from us”.
“Brian was never a well boy. He was in and out of hospital and had bad asthma and eczema. When he was 14 years old he was diagnosed as having the mind of a six year old. It was genetic thing. We were all very protective of Brian. He was very popular in the area with the neighbours and he was always singing and he played a mouth organ and the guitar. In fact, sometimes you had to tell him to be quiet. He was very musical. Brian was funny without even meaning to be, he hadn’t an ounce of sense”.
“He went out to work on Thursday 25th May 1978 and he never came home. I still can’t get him out of my mind especially what he must have felt like in his last moments. I know he would have cried”.
“His friends would tell you how good natured he was. He would have given away his last penny. He would have been very easily led but he wouldn’t have harmed a fly. He is still so much missed by us all”.
John disappeared on the 25th of May 1978.
Found: His body was located on 29th June 1999 at Colgagh, Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan
John, by his family…
“John was very tall with long black hair. He was very tall for his age. He was almost 19 years old when he disappeared. He was a friendly boy and always tried to help the elderly neighbours who lived beside us. He would help them carry their shopping to the house. He was very outgoing, funny and very talkative”.
“John took great pride in his appearance especially his long hair. His hair was his pride and joy!”
“He loved sports but was an armchair fan, rather than actively playing any sports. He was just like any other 18 year old, living life to the full and enjoying himself”.
“His friends and his family miss him very much. I know his friends would have viewed him differently than me. I only had seen him as my brother, although when I talk to some of his friends we have a laugh about what he used to get up to”.
Jean disappeared on the 7th December 1972.
Found: Her body was recovered on 27th August, 2003 at Shillington Beach, Co. Louth.
Jean, by her family…
“Mum was 37 years old and she had dark brown hair and lovely blue eyes. She was small in height and she was a very quiet woman who was gentle and caring”.
“I remember Mum and Dad always together and can remember Mum always wearing an apron like the one in the picture and she always folded her arms like the way she is in the picture Mum and Dad were close and we were a close family. She always came round at night and gave us a good night kiss. After my Daddy died she was just trying to raise her own children by herself and that couldn’t have been easy but she did her best”.
“Mum was always busy and she was rarely out of the house. She was at home all the time in the house clearing and making sure we were all clean and that there was food on the table for us. She had a good sense of humour too and always had time for her family. The one hobby she enjoyed was bingo and other than that she was always with her children”.
“It has been terrible since she was taken. From day one we were put in a home and we had to learn how to survive on our own. You had to learn to survive if you wanted to get on with your life because the home wasn’t easy. It was very strict but being split up from your brothers and sisters was the hardest thing of all”.
Danny disappeared on 1st July 1981.
Found:His body was discovered in 2008 in bogland near the Blessington Lakes in Co. Wicklow.
Disappeared IRA victim Danny McIlhone was shot a number of times before being buried in a secret grave on a remote mountainside, an inquest has heard.
The IRA had admitted taking Mr McIlhone to a “premises” in Ballynultagh for questioning about “certain matters” and that a Provo had shot him a number of times when a struggle broke out between them.
Charlie disappeared on 15th August 1981.
Found: His body was found in County Monaghan in July 2010
Charlie, by his family…
“Charlie was medium in height and roughly 5 ft 4”. He was 54 years old when he disappeared and he had receding brown hair. Charlie was a very pleasant, outgoing man. He was a very talkative person who loved a bit of craic with other people and he could be very funny. His hobbies were mainly around animals. He loved horse racing and backing horses, he also loved dogs and caged birds. He was a football fan and enjoyed gardening, decorating and fishing”.
“Charlie’s friends would describe him as being very obliging, always willing to help neighbours. Nothing was too much for him to do for other people”.
“Charlie was a very good husband and father. He was a very caring person”.
On the day he disappeared, his wife walked with their daughters to Mass, where they had planned to meet him after he drove a friend to it. He did not appear and it was only when they got home that they discovered that he had not met their friend. Initially, it was thought that he had had an accident, so his family and friends searched the area, but there was no sign of him. The next day, a friend phoned the family to tell them that his car had been found outside the Adelphi cinema in Dundalk.
His name did not appear on a list of nine people whose disappearances the Provisional IRA admitted responsibility for in 1999. Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin, denied that the IRA was responsible, but journalist Suzanne Breen said that she had been contacted by a member of the IRA who said that it was.
Peter disappeared August 1973.
Found : November 2010
Reports suggest he may have been abducted and murdered by the IRA. His name was added to the list of the Disappeared in 2009 after new information became available.
For four days before he disappeared he lived with an Army unit at their headquarters near his Falls Road home. At the time the Army was accused of using a vulnerable person to gather information on the IRA, but the Army said they wanted him to experience military life.
Gerard Anthony disappeared on his way home to Crossmaglen March 1979. . He was last seen on the roadside out of Castleblaney trying to hitch a lift back home.
Found: His body was found in October 2010.
Gerard, by his family…
“Gerry was 24 years old and 5ft 10”. He had dark brown hair. Gerry was the eldest of five boys and he was a very loving, kind son who was matured for his age. He loved his home and family. He had a lovely personality, quiet and but funny at times. He enjoyed being with his younger brothers, especially Sean who has Down Syndrome. Sean still misses Gerry very much. Gerry’s hobbies were darts and snooker, any kind of sport and a night out with his mates”.
“I think Gerry’s friends would describe him as a good friend and fun to be with. They still miss him and he had no enemies that we know about. Gerry would never have hurt anyone”.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better son”.
Last seen hitch-hiking in County Monaghan in March 1979, no-one has ever admitted responsibility for the 24-year-old’s death. In March 2008, his aunt was given a map claiming to identify the location of his body. Mr Evans’ remains were found at a site in County Louth in October 2010.
His body was discovered by chance in May 1984 in a bog near Dundalk, County Louth.
Eugene, by his family…
“Eugene was fairly tall, about 5ft 11”. He was 26 years old and he had brown hair. He was abducted on New Years Day in 1981”.
“Eugene was a plumber by trade and he was never out of work. He was a very good tradesman. He loved angling, darts and a social night out”.
“He got on well with all he came in to contact with but sadly it was some of his so called friends that set him up for abduction”.
Kevin disappeared on 2nd October 1972.
Found: His body was recovered on June 2015
The 17-year-old was killed in 1972 along with Seamus Wright, 25, by the Provisional IRA in Belfast. The pair were accused of working for a secret undercover British army unit at the time.
Kevin, by his family…
“Kevin was 17 years old and he was very tall. He had dark curly hair. He had beautiful white curly hair as a baby, but as he grew older he didn’t like his curls. Kevin was a very caring young boy. He was the first-born and was always very protective of his younger siblings. He was very much family orientated and fiercely loyal. He was shy but very helpful to elders; he was quiet and spent most of his time at home with his family. He was very close to his mother and would do odd jobs to help support the family. He was very athletic and loved football and sports. He could possibly have been very successful at school. He loved playing football and he loved drawing. He was a very good artist. He would sketch and draw in his spare time. Kevin was outgoing but he was shy too”.
“He has lots of mates both in school and outside of school. He was a typical mischievous youth. His friends described him as a tall likeable gentleman. He had a good sense of humour and he was loved by all who knew him. His disappearance was a tragedy. He had been engaged to a very pretty young girl just before he disappeared”.
The Belfast man was an IRA member, but in 1972 he was interrogated and murdered by his former colleagues who accused him of being a British army agent and a member of its Military Reaction Force. His body was discovered in Coghalstown, Co Meath, in June 2015.
He vanished in 1972 alongside Kevin McKee after the IRA suspected the pair of working as undercover agents for a secret army unity known as the Military Reconnaissance Force, which was carrying out a covert war against the IRA in Belfast during the Troubles’ bloodiest year.
They are believed to have been abducted from their homes in west Belfast, driven across the border, interrogated, shot dead and buried in secret
Gareth disappeared 11th May 2003.
Found: His body was found June 12th 2005 at Victoria Lock, just outside of Newry.
Gareth, by his family…
“Gareth was very tall and well built with short dark brown hair. He was 24 years old when he disappeared”.
“Gareth was a very good-natured person and he was friendly and easy to get on with. He would have been the first person to help you when needed. Gareth was a very outgoing person and was also a practical joker. He was always playing some sort of jokes on people”.
“Gareth’s hobbies were around fixing up old cars and bodybuilding. He would have trained 7 nights a week at a local gym”.
“I think Gareth’s friends would have described him as a very loyal friend and fun to be with. His friends miss him badly. His close friends find it hard to talk about what has happened”.
Gareth O’Connor was not included in the remit and legislation of 1999 for The Independant Commission for The Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR)
O’Connor was a member of the Real IRA who disappeared after driving through Newtownhamilton in 2003. On 11 June 2005, his badly decomposed body was discovered in his car in Newry Canal, County Down. His father, Mark, believes that the Provisional IRA were responsible for the murder, as they had threatened father and son. Mark O’Connor said: “I gave those names [of the killers] to Gerry Kelly (Sinn Féin assembly member). But nothing has been done. Gerry Adams ignores us and ignores all the families of the Disappeared.”
Seamus disappeared in Paris on 9th May 1985.
Still Missing: His body has never been recovered.
It is believed he was killed by members of the INLA. Fresh searches were carried out in 2008 after his family were told his remains were in a forest in Normandy, but they found nothing.
Seamus, by his family…
“Seamus was of average build, about 5ft 6” with dark brown hair. He had a beard, although in springtime he sometimes shaved it off to leave just a moustache. Under his glasses he had the most beautiful blue eyes. He was 33 years old when he disappeared. He was the youngest boy of a family of 9. He had 5 sisters and 3 brothers. He lived in Newry and educated at Newry CBS”.
“You couldn’t say Seamus was one type of person. He was a different person to everyone who knew him; I only discovered that after his disappearance”.
“Seamus was a kind hearted, thoughtful and humorous person. He was wise, caring, a walking encyclopaedia, meticulous and a hard worker at whatever he chose to do. He was always concerned about the welfare and well being of his 34 nephews and nieces. On Christmas morning he visited as many of Santa’s houses as he could to play with the children’s toys!”
“He was a very good listener and he was able to enjoy the craic wherever he went. He enjoyed a good laugh and always looked for the positive side of the situation. His laugh was an infectious one, so when he laughed you laughed too”.
“Seamus really enjoyed all types of music especially The Chieftains, Christy Moore and Planxty. The Flead Cheoils were a part of his life. Otis Reading and Aretha Franklin were also appreciated by him. Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy were rated highly too”.
“He was an avid reader especially politics and world affairs and he could discuss the current affairs of any country in the world”.
“Seamus was always there for his friends, no matter who needed help he would come to their aid. He even played hurley once for Newry Shamrocks because they were a man short and he was co-opted on to the team”.
“He definitely was not athletic but still played to help the team out. Seamus always fulfilled his promises. It was not in his vocabulary to let anyone down. I think friends would describe him as dependable, kind and trustworthy”.
The 29-year-old was abducted when he visited a pub at Dromintee, south Armagh. He had been in the pub singing rebel songs. He was seized during a struggle in the pub’s car park and taken across the border to a field at Ravensdale, County Louth, and later shot dead.
A former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast, he later joined the IRA. Mr Lynskey went missing in 1972, and republicans have claimed Mr Lynskey was “executed and buried” by the IRA.
The 19-year-old from Donaghmore, County Tyrone was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1975 after allegedly confessing to being a British army agent with instructions to infiltrate the IRA.
Extensive searches for his body were carried out in 2003 at a bog in Emyvale, County Monaghan, but nothing was found. His mother, Vera, was a tireless campaigner for the return of his remains – she died in 2007. Mother of Disappeared victim dies
A specialist forensic team spent five months in 2013 digging in a bog in County Monaghan for Mr McVeigh’s remains, but found nothing.
Columba, by his family…
“Columba was the third of four precious children born to Paddy and Vera McVeigh.He grew up in the rural setting of Castlecaulfield in Co Tyrone where life was sometimes hard making the security of a loving family very special. Columba grew up to be a fine big tall and handsome fella with curly golden hair”.
“He enjoyed being outdoors, riding his bike, playing football, often returning home covered in muck from head to toe. He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed playing a trick on family and friends. He worked hard and went to Dublin to take up a job. It was from there that Columba disappeared 29 years ago at the age of 17”.
Lisa went missing on 28th February 2005
Still Missing: Her body has never been found
It is widely believed she was abducted and murdered by member of the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
Lisa Dorrian was not included in the remit and legislation of 1999 for The Independent Commission for The Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR)
“It is 4 years since we last saw our beautiful daughter Lisa. They have been two long and hard years, which have taken their toll on all our family. We were never given the chance to say goodbye to Lisa. “Lisa’s youngest sister Ciara, who was only eight years old when Lisa disappeared, has panic attacks at night, screaming and crying for her Lisa. We, as parents, should be able to alleviate her fears, but we can’t because we don’t have the answers.
“We are appealing to anyone who knows anything to please tell the police, no matter how trivial it may seem. It may help us as a family to grieve and try to accept that Lisa is never coming back. They say time is a great healer, but for us it just gets worse.”