The author of a new book alleging Gerry Adams was an IRA leader at the height of its campaign has rejected claims the allegations are being made by republicans opposed to Sinn Fein.
The latest claims that Mr Adams was a top IRA member in Belfast during some of its most infamous attacks were made by a senior republican, Brendan ‘Darkie’ Hughes, in interviews carried out before he died in 2008.
Mr Adams has always denied ever being an IRA member and Sinn Fein has dismissed the renewed allegations that he was a leader of the group and was linked to the IRA murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville and the Bloody Friday bomb blitz on Belfast which killed nine people in 1972.
But the author of the new book, Voices From The Grave, Ed Moloney said: “What Brendan Hughes has done here is, first of all, unprecedented in IRA annals.
“It has never happened before that someone like this has come forward, albeit giving interviews that wouldn't appear until his death, to tell the unvarnished truth as they saw it about what happened and who was involved.”
Mr Moloney said Mr Hughes was angered by his belief that top republicans had denied their former role in the IRA.
The author said: “It's pretty disappointing that every time something like this happens, the accusation is made that there is an agenda-driven effort going on here and it's just not the case.”
Mr Moloney said he had encouraged the efforts to collect stories from republican and loyalist paramilitaries involved in the conflict to act as a store of information from the Troubles, with the research exercise backed by Boston college in the US.
The interviews with Mr Hughes are carried in the new book in which the deceased IRA member, who was once a close friend of Mr Adams but who later became a critic of Sinn Fein's political strategy, is quoted recalling his own earlier role in the republican movement.