Belfast Telegraph

I've no regrets about Gerry Adams IRA claim, says republican

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Des Long on BBC's Spotlight On The Troubles
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The veteran republican who named Gerry Adams as a member of the IRA army council has said he has no regrets about his decision and republicans should be "honest and honourable".

Des Long told last night's BBC NI Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History that he had attended meetings of the IRA's army executive with Mr Adams there as "chairman of the army council".

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy yesterday dismissed the claim and branded Mr Long "a bitter opponent of Gerry Adams for 35 years" who regarded him as a traitor.

"The allegations have been made over the years and have been consistently denied," Mr Murphy told Radio Ulster.

"You have to look at the people who are making the allegations to see what their motivation is."

But Mr Long last night told the Belfast Telegraph: "I was involved in republican activity from August 1, 1959. I was always told that republicans should be honest. The people I dealt with were straightforward and honourable. It now seems that is frowned upon, that it is wrong to tell the truth."

Mr Long added: "Conor Murphy has described me as a critic of Gerry Adams. Of course I am critical of what the Provisionals have done. They have killed and filled the jails and all for what? All for nothing."

The Limerick republican is a former vice-president of Republican Sinn Fein.

Mr Adams has long denied being an IRA member. But Mr Long told Spotlight: "I sat opposite him at meetings. This lie he comes out with, he was never in the IRA, that's a lie.

"I'll probably get shot for saying it, but I'm saying it."

DUP MP Gavin Robinson said: "Nobody seriously believes that Gerry Adams was not part of the IRA, particularly when you have such revelations coming from veteran republicans.

"What's worrying is that when revelations like this come into the public domain, people are still fearful for their lives as Mr Long told Spotlight."

TUV leader Jim Allister said there should be a police investigation into Spotlight's claims.

"At a time when elderly soldiers are being hauled before the courts for alleged crimes committed in the 1970s, it is scandalous that allegations of this nature can be levelled with most people, myself included, believing there is little prospect of action being taken for the sake of the precious process."

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said Mr Adams' denial of IRA membership had become "a farce" with so many claiming otherwise.

He said: "Des Long is just the latest senior republican to say Gerry Adams was an IRA member. At least six others have said the same, including former IRA chief-of-staff Sean Mac Stiofain.

"For too long, we have looked just at those who exercised the terrorist campaign. It is now time to focus on those whom it is alleged directed it and were responsible for so much that went on during the Troubles."

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