Northern Ireland news

Adams's alleged IRA leadership role revealed in latest state papers

During 1988 Gerry Adams was engaged with SDLP leader John Hume in the Hume-Adams talks

GERRY Adams's alleged role in the IRA and possible divisions within some of the north's leading political parties are revealed within the latest Irish state papers.

In the files from 1988, published by the BBC, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs reports observations from Paddy McGrory, the solicitor for the families of three IRA members killed by the SAS in Gibraltar.

The declassified note said Mr McGrory had "heard some dark mutterings from an IRA source regarding (Gerry) Adams' leadership".

Mr McGrory said he "did not place any credence on this as, in his experience, the IRA was traditionally full of differing cliques and it is not unusual for one or other of those cliques to mutter darkly about the various leaderships from time to time".

Mr Adams, who served as Sinn Féin president from 1983 until this year, has always denied membership of the IRA.

According to the note, Mr McGrory said he thought Mr Adams remained secure in the leadership and, while it might appear he had differences with Martin McGuinness, it was important to note they "were close personal friends".

"In his view, Adams is very committed to the republican movement and, to McGrory's mind, would be the last person to be involved in initiating any type of friction or break-up within the movement," it said.

In 1988, Gerry Adams and SDLP leader John Hume were involved in the first round of the Hume-Adams talks.

Possible divisions within the DUP and SDLP leadership are also highlighted within the papers.

One note said that, in his opposition to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, DUP leader Ian Paisley would not want to "find himself outflanked by his deputy leader Peter Robinson".

It is also hinted that SDLP deputy leader, Seamus Mallon felt left out when leader John Hume met Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald, without him or Peter Barry, the foreign affairs minister.

A note said that Mr Mallon "expressed the hope that the big four format would be adhered to in future rather than the big two".

The papers further show that Northern Ireland Office Minister for State, Nick Scott was reportedly "in despair" about the unionist leadership in 1986.

He also said Mr Paisley's decision to heckle Pope John Paul II during his 1988 speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg reflected his "intellectual bankruptcy".

During the first ever Papal visit the European Parliament, the then DUP leader attended in protest and labelled the Polish pope as the "antichrist".

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