Belfast Telegraph

Adams’ tribute as IRA man behind failed helicopter jailbreak bid dies

Richard 'Dickie' Glenholmes from Ballymacarrett in Belfast died after a long illness
Richard 'Dickie' Glenholmes from Ballymacarrett in Belfast died after a long illness
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Gerry Adams has paid tribute to a veteran IRA man who served 10 years for a failed prison break involving a stolen helicopter.

Richard 'Dickie' Glenholmes from Ballymacarrett in Belfast died after a long illness. He was in his 80s.

Glenholmes was an IRA operations officer and was jailed in the 1980s for attempting to free Provo leader Brian Keenan from Brixton Prison.

His daughter Eibhlin Glenholmes is also a high profile republican, once listed by Scotland Yard as Britain's most wanted woman after several bombings in England.

After years as a fugitive and a drawn-out extradition battle, she received an on-the-run (OTR) letter, a controversial deal agreed as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

She was later appointed to the new Forum for Victims and Survivors, drawing intense criticism from unionists.

Former Sinn Fein president Mr Adams said he had known Mr Glenholmes for 50 years.

"He was my friend. He was also a truly remarkable and exceptional human being," he said.

"He was a freedom fighter and a political prisoner - in British prisons in Ireland and in England.

"In the hard years when the British imprisoned him without trial and he was locked away for years in England, he kept the faith."

Mr Adams said that he later embraced the peace process.

Mr Glenholmes was also part of the Irish Republican Felons Association, a Belfast club run by ex-republican prisoners.

A message on the group's Facebook page said they were "sorely grieved to hear of the death of our friend and comrade".

The group shared a picture of him unveiling a stained glass window depicting generations of armed IRA members.

In 2006 it was reported that Mr Glenholmes was among two well-known republicans approached by the PSNI to be warned they were under suspicion of being informers, which he denied.

This followed the shocking exposure of Sinn Fein's head of administration at Stormont Denis Donaldson as a British agent of 20 years.

Requiem Mass in St Agnes Church will take place on Thursday at 10am, followed by burial at Milltown Cemetery.

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