Dolours Price RIP

Dolours Price died yesterday aged 61. She will be forever known as one of the Price Sisters and one of the Old Bailey bombers in 1973, when she was just 22 years old. The Old Bailey bombers received long jail sentences and were forced fed while on Hunger Strike.

Some will have little sympathy for them. Others will. In passing, I should point out that some so called journalists and bloggers are using their so called professionalism to hide their gloating.

For them the only issue is…Ms Prices involvement in the disappearance of Jean McConville, murdered in 1972. Mrs McConville who had ten children was abducted and murdered in the belief that she was an informer. She is the favourite victim of a certain kind of journalist and blogger. Whether Ms Price was merely a pawn in 1972 or even 1973 is one thing. She has certainly been a pawn in recent years. Suffering mental health problems, she has been shamelessly used by journalists and bloggers to discredit Gerry Adams, who allegedly ordered the abduction and murder in 1972. While Mrs McConville is the favourite victim, Gerry Adams is their favourite pantomime villain.

Adams of course does himself few favours. I hold no brief for him. Nor do I hold any brief for journalists and “researchers” who seem to have more interest in pursuing their agenda than genuine archiving of the Troubles history.

Jean McConville was murdered in 1972. The Old Bailey Bomb was in 1973. A lifetime ago. Those rushing to type their blogs and rush to the moral high ground where they feel they belong will probably have to spend several minutes on the Internet trying to find the name of the man who died of a heart attack as a result of the Old Bailey Bomb. Not that it will matter much to the moralists but his name was Fred Milton.

But of course today’s stories are not really about Fred Milton. Or even Dolours Price. Or even Roisin McNearney ( look her up, I can’t do everything) who fared rather better than Dolours Price.Gerry Kelly, one of the bombers who suffered horribly thru forced feeding Has ended up ok…Sinn Feins spokesperson on Policing and Justice.

A Lifetime ago. There’s something odd here. Dolours waspish was 22. Marion Price was 19. Hugh Feeney was 21. Gerry Kelly was 20. Roisin McNearney was 18. ….I was 21.

All were from West Belfast. A specific area of West Belfast, which they would have called the Second Battalion area. Parishes…St Peters, St Johns, St Pauls, Clonard Monastery,…..places like Kashmir Road, Whiterock Road, Falls Road, Springfield Road,…..Royal Victoria Hospital…Mackies Foundry. Schools like St Dominic’s, St Roses, St Louise’s,….teacher training college at Trench House. Casement Park, the White Fort Bar…..ok you get the picture. It I was a small localised world…and no we didn’t know e everybody…that would be ridiculous….but if we didn’t know everybody, we knew their parents, brothers, sisters, cousins or neighbours.

Or if we didn’t know them in 1972 and 1973….we might have known them in 1965 or 1966.

A Time and a Place. I have written before of that Phoney War from 1970 to 1971, when they all paraded up the Falls Road in their battalions and companies. And it all seemed lika adventure like the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy told us around the time of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1966.

And I have written about that arc of events in 1971/72 which changed my life….Internment, McGurks Bar, Bloody Sunday, Claudy and Bloody Friday.

I am not of course saying that everything after the summer of 1972 settled me completely into the person that I am today.

Did I mention that I am 60 years old? Oh I did…Married 30 years. Two sons. Two Daughters in Law and three surviving grandchildren. I am lucky.

Dolours Price…Rest in Peace.

There but for the Grace of GOD.

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8 Responses to Dolours Price RIP

  1. Pingback: Dolours Price | An Sionnach Fionn

  2. A very fair and honest summation. Genuinely thoughtful.

    • Thanks for that.
      With Texas in mind, I have been preparing pieces that are historic rather than political Increasingly that time is historic. West Belfast is really a series of parishes….and there is a strange dividing line that cuts across people of my generation.
      Childhood is marked by the years before the Troubles and adulthood the years after the Troubles.
      Thus I was 17 in August 1969, Dolours a couple of years older, Marion A year younger. Roisin a couple of years younger. Gerry 16 going on 17′ Hugh Feeney 18…..I am not of course saying that I knew any, one, some or all of them.
      But whether it was the ceili in Clonard Hall On a Friday night in 1967 or being an altar boy in St Peters in 1961 or a girl in Clonard Choir in 1966. To live around the corner in Beechmount and in primary school with someone’s brother in 1960 and pass 11 plus and go to St Dominic’s with somebody’s sister in 1963.
      Of course when I was 14 I’d become increasingly aware that some families had fathers with a whiff of cordite about them. And people seemed to drop off the radar in the early 1970s….until a news bulletin would say that the 23 year old woman charged with possessing a weapon is….or that the 19 year old man killed while transporting a bomb in his car has been named as…..
      I’m not saying any of this as a form of name dropping. In fact the opposite…these were extremely ordinary people.

  3. And that thing about ordinary people really bites. I’ve related before how my family became involved in reaction to police cooperation with loyalist gangs in Glengormley. I often assert that one can make a generalised catagoristaion of motivations in various parts of Northern Ireland from defence, to civil rights, to a united ireland.

    Despite what unionists and the completely fantasist main stream media might like to think, being in the movement was no party and had no benefits, save for a certain elite. Volunteers sacrificed so much and it cost their families dearly. I’ve often seen unionists saying that volunteers were paid and benefitted from their activities, like some Scorsese movie.

    The oft liking of the republican movement to loyalists just doesn’t stack up and the aftermath of the troubles is a testimony to this. For the much greater part, republicans dedicated themselves to the movement, to the varied beliefs and were willing to sacrifice themselves for it. People like Delourus Price were willing to give everything of themselves for their people, their nation and natural justice. Of course, it’s best only to whisper this among like minded company lest one be brandished evil rather than one who sees the struggle for justice as a continuum of a centuries old liberation movement.

    • I think a lot depends on time and place. And a lot on personal circumstance, age and family background.
      in this context I see a “generation” as being five years. The people who were teens and young adults were a different people to those who reached decision making age in say 1975 or 1980 or 1985 or 1990. the background was always changing.
      This 1969-1970 generation and I can only speak for West Belfast and even that sounds presumptions of me…made decisions against a background of 1966 history as taught by Christian Brothers or Dominican nuns…against a background of family that was either historically involved or not, against peer pressure or the evidence of our eyes…or against the background of that relatively tranquil phoney war 1969-1971,
      As I’ve said before the traumatic roller coaster of events in 1971-72 …Ballymurphy-internment, McGurks, Bloody Sunday, Claudy, Bloody FRiday, made me think and re-think and reach a relatively settled state by then.
      but certainly if asked to make a decision in August 1969, June 1970, August 1971, JAnuary 1972 , then frankly my life could have taken a very different direction.
      I will certainly not condemn anyone…in that time period…in those places…who made a different decision.

  4. Given incredible circumstances, such the police escorting loyalist to nationalist areas to attack people, I think that those who had it in them to do so were duty bound to react.

    I remember well when the regugees, as they were called, from Rathcoole came to my parish of St Bernard’s, there were attacks on the chapel, as well as the general Catholic populace of the area. I’ve told many times on sites of how the parish priest went to the police but was told where to go. Then people like my father and brother patrolled with hurls but got hassle from the police. At that point they had no choice but to go the path that they did.

    The myth of the IRA monster is one that unionism needs, just as they need to conflate nationalists (who spent decades openly taking on militant republicanism) with republicanism. Look at how they react to HET and public inquiries because so fragile is their truth that any truth, any doubt, exposes them.

    Attacking agents of the state, the judiciary, the courts is old bread and butter guerrilla tactics, going back, as far as I am aware, to Roman times. The Price sisters and Gerry Kelly did nothing that people did not to in Asia, Africa or even in Europe during WW II but to see that, one needs to remove the self interested denial of the illegitimacy of the British history here. Unionists can’t even admit the victims of Bloody Sunday were murdered.

  5. dixiedeano says:

    I am from a small village and am also of an age, like you, witnessed and experienced injustices in NI, i.e. watched three people die in agony when our local pub was blown up, a work colleague of my father who was in the reserves (RUC), enticed into attending a break-in where he was shot in the back, etc. The reasons I go into detail of above atrocities/ injustices; we all in the 70’s could have been lured into Para military activities by our perceived view of injustice, but and its a big but, I realised I could not cold bloodedly go out and shoot or plant bombs with the intention of causing maximum human injury or death. I believe, to take life is not the actions of the ordinary man, it takes a special type of person, no-mater how justified he might think, to callously commit these acts, it goes against all the basic principles of human life, once you went down that path there was no turning back. I like you, have witnessed people getting involved in these actions and have noticed they actually lose a part of their character, they’re not the same person. Encase your wondering, I am not a deeply religious person or ‘bible-thumper’ just an ordinary guy that doesn’t believe in killing. Moreover, the need to glorify these past heinous acts, on either side, is abhorrent to me and I believe it doesn’t help society to heal or move on. Furthermore, I don’t agree with your statement that [all] “unionists can’t even admit the victims of Bloody Sunday were murdered”. Of course there was major injustices committed that day (and cover-ups). You shouldn’t tar all Unionists with the one brush ! I find one of the major problems with ‘whatever’ political opinion held, is the tendency to class all of the populace with the same ‘blinkered’ stubbornness that they have, on not excepting the others viewpoint. I really do hope the GFA will work for the betterment of all and I realise we need the combatants of this bloody past of ours to contribute and actively take part in the democratic process to make this a better place.

    • Thanks for this.
      Without reading back thru all comments, I don’t think I actually said that unionists couldn’t accept that Bloody Sunday was murder.
      I think that was made by another person.
      But I think most unionists DO know that it was murder, but a significant number can’t or won’t bring themselves to admit it.
      You make a very good point that people who have done things are changed forever.
      A few ears ago I was with my older son, then about 12 when I ran into an old school friend who was also with his son, also about 12.
      We chatted for a long time.
      But there was a key difference.
      His son had been born while he was in prison and he was only recently released.
      that’s a heavy price to pay.

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