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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# The Troubles
Veteran IRA member claims Gerry Adams lied when he denied being a member of the organisation
The Louth TD has repeatedly denied accusations that he was a member of the paramilitary organisation.

A  VETERAN MEMBER of the Provisional IRA has claimed former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA’s Army Council and sat opposite him at meetings.

The Louth TD has repeatedly denied accusations that he was a member of the paramilitary organisation, and this stance was reiterated by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty this afternoon.

But in a documentary set to air on BBC 1 tonight, Des Long, who was on the IRA’s army executive for more than 17 years, said Adams was the chair of IRA’s Army Council and held a seat at executive meetings.

“I met Adams on numerous occasions… the chairman of the Army Council would turn up at the executive meetings. We were meeting at least every four months,” Long said, adding that the chairman was Gerry Adams.

“You can’t be on the Army Council unless you’re a volunteer and you can’t be chairman of the Army Council unless you’re a member of the Army Council and I sat opposite him in the meetings.

This lie he comes out with that ‘I was never there’, that’s a lie. And I’m saying that having sat opposite of him in meetings. I’ll probably get shot for it but I’m saying it.

The second episode in a seven-part series sees high-ranking figures from both sides of the Troubles recounting their experience.

The documentary host Darragh MacIntyre said Adams declined to take part. has also contacted Adams for comment.

One figure interviewed for the documentary was Lord Ramsbotham, a British Army commander in Northern Ireland, who said Adams “was held to be the chief of staff” of the IRA.

“[The British Army] was aware that he was a highly intelligent man and that he had never used a pistol or thrown a bomb but he was definitely a strategic planner of the highest order and he was, I thought, certainly directing the political direction of the IRA.”

Speaking today, Sinn Féin’s Doherty says that anyone who said they sat across the table from Adams at an army council meeting would be “lying”. 

“We’ve given you the same answer over and over again,” he said. 

Adams was interned at Maze prison, also known as Long Kesh in the 1970s – under a policy which saw 1,800 Irish republicans and 107 loyalists arrested and imprisoned without trial.

During his second internment the former Sinn Féin leader attempted to escape and was later convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He later appealed the decision although no hearing has yet been set.

The programme Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History shows rare footage of the troubles in Northern Ireland from parts of Derry, Antrim and Tyrone. It airs on BBC 1 tonight at 9pm.

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