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.