SISTERS Dolours and Marian Price were yesterday described as "like bosom twins", as one was buried in west Belfast while the other remained under guard in hospital.
About 500 mourners - including Dolours Price's ex-husband, actor Stephen Rea and the couple's sons Danny and Oscar - attended Requiem Mass for the former IRA woman who died at her home in Malahide, Co Dublin, on Wednesday.
Marian Price successfully forced the Department of Justice to allow her to pay her respects to her older sister at the weekend.
The 58-year-old's request that she grieve privately at her sister's wake and not attend her funeral was granted by a judge as she continues to be held in custody on charges relating to a dissident republican rally.
Among those at the Mass at St Agnes's Church yesterday was a former student teacher jailed alongside the Price sisters for the Old Bailey and Scotland Yard bombings in 1973, in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.
Hugh Feeney, who attended St Mary's University teacher training college on the Falls Road with the women, was accused with them of leading the 10-strong IRA bombing unit.
Fellow bomber and now Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly - then 19 - did not attend yesterday's funeral, which drew many republicans opposed to Sinn Fein, although West Belfast MP Paul Maskey and the party's junior minister Jennifer McCann were among the crowds on the Anderson-stown Road, with former publicity director Danny Morrison.
Also among the mourners were Francie Mackie and Joe Dillon of the 32 Sovereignty Movement, with whom Marian Price was heavily involved before her arrest following an Easter Sunday rally in 2011.
Ruairi O Bradaigh of the Continuity IRA-linked Republican Sinn Fein - who served time with the sisters' father Albert Price in the Curragh internment camp - also attended, as did writer and staunch critic of Sinn Fein Anthony McIntyre, who is involved in legal proceedings in the US over interviews Dolours Price carried out for Boston College.
The PSNI is seeking transcripts of the interviews as part of investigations into the murder of 'Disappeared' victim Jean McConville.
Dolours Price has publicly implicated Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in relation to the killing, a claim he denies.
People on the Anderstonstown Road, Belfast, stopped to pay their respects as the funeral cortege made its way through driving rain to Mill town cemetery, the coffin draped in the Irish tricolour.
Mgr Raymond Murray, chaplain for 19 years at Armagh women's prison where the Price sisters were repatriated after more than 200 days on hunger strike in England during which they were force fed, said Dolours "had been ill for years".
"I visited her in hospital in Dublin a few months ago but was still shocked by her sudden death."
Ms Price was laid to rest in Mill-town Cemetery.
Mourners, including prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy, heard an oration by socialist activist Eamonn McCann about how she had struggled to come to terms with her past.
"If Dolours had a big fault, it was perhaps that she lived out too urgently the ideals to which so many others also purported to be dedicated,'' he said.
"She was a liberator but never managed to liberate herself from those ideas.
"Sometimes we are imprisoned within ideals; sometimes in war atrocious things are done; sometimes hard things have to be done.
"Sometimes it is very difficult to handle the hard things that you felt compelled to do when you are softhearted at the core of your being. And Dolours was a soft-hearted person as well as a hard person in her politics."
Former MP and civil rights leader Bernadette McAliskey also told those at the graveside: "We cannot keep pretending that 40 years of cruel war, of loss, of sacrifice, of prison, of inhumanity, has not affected each and every one of us in heart and soul and spirit.
"We cannot keep pretending that the war did not hurt. It broke our hearts and it broke our bodies, it changed our perspectives and it makes every day hard."
Family members including Ms Price's sister Clare and brother Damian gathered round as the coffin was lowered into the ground and dropped white roses and lillies into the grave. ■ GRIEF: Clockwise from left, Dolours Price whose funeral was held yesterday; her sons Danny and Oscar and their father, Price's ex-husband Stephen Rea, carry her coffin as the funeral makes its way to St Agnes's Church in Andersonstown, west Belfast; the cortege; mourners Danny Morrison, Colin Duffy and Breandan Mac Cionnaith; Bernadette McAliskey speaking at the graveside
PICTURES: Mal McCann and Julien Behal/PA