Veteran republican Marian Price was granted compassionate parole yesterday to attend the wake of her sister Dolours.
Price, (58), was released from Belfast City Hospital — where she is under armed guard — and accompanied to the wake house in west Belfast by Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann and SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey.
Dolours Price, who was found dead at her Dublin home last week, will be buried today. Monsignor Raymond Murray, who knew her from his days as chaplain in Armagh jail in the 1970s, will officiate at Requiem Mass in St Agnes’ Church, Andersonstown.
Marian Price, also known as McGlinchey, received three hours’ compassionate parole. The MLAs were told to keep her under constant supervision and only immediate family, were allowed in the house when she was there.
Price’s husband, Jerry McGlinchey, said: “We are relieved Marian got to say goodbye to Dolours. She hadn’t seen her sister during the 20 months she has been imprisoned so she would have been devastated had she not been allowed this visit.”
Her release followed intense behind-the-scenes talks over the weekend involving lawyers, politicians and the authorities. She will not attend the funeral and did not ask to do so.
Belfast Crown Court granted Price bail on Friday but that decision was overturned because of the nature of the charges she faces and the “high security and flight risk” it was said she poses.
Price — who is being treated for severe depression, arthritis, and lung problems — is in Belfast City Hospital’s psychiatric unit. Her health deteriorated after a year in solitary confinement in Maghaberry jail.
The sisters were part of an IRA unit which bombed London in 1973. Marian Price’s licence was revoked after she held a statement from which a masked Real IRA man read at a dissident republican rally in 2011.
Price is currently facing two sets of charges, that she allegedly provided a mobile telephone for a terrorist purpose on March 8 2009, shortly before two soldiers were shot dead at Massereene barracks in Antrim and also that she aided and abetted a meeting in support of an illegal organisation on April 25 last year.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will not attend the funeral of 62-year-old Dolours.
He said he felt a deep sense of solidarity with her family.
Mr Adams said: “I am very sad. I have known her for a very long time. For her sons Oscar and Danny there is nothing worse than losing your mother so to sisters, her brother, friends, I want to also extend condolences.”
In recent years, Dolours Price clashed with Mr Adams over her allegations he was her IRA Officer Commanding in the early 1970s.
Price consistently claimed that Mr Adams ordered the kidnap and killing of Jean McConville in 1972. The Catholic mother-of-10 was among dozens of people — later known as the Disappeared — who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican militants during the Troubles.
Mr Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA.