Northern Ireland news

'I believe Gerry Adams wasn't in the IRA,' says Sinn Féin's legacy spokeswoman

The BBC aired claims that Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA's Army Council. Picture by Hugh Russell

SINN Féin's legacy spokeswoman has said she believes Gerry Adams's claim that he was never in the IRA.

Linda Dillon was speaking following claims by a veteran republican that he sat opposite former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at IRA meetings, claiming: "You don't get to be on the army council unless you're a volunteer."

The allegation by Des Long was aired in last night's edition of the BBC series Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History.

The Louth TD and former West Belfast MP has always denied being a member of the IRA.

Ms Dillon told BBC's Talkback yesterday that she did not know Mr Long and said Mr Adams had answered questions about his past many times.

"For his part he has denied that he was in the IRA and I have no reason to not believe him – I believe him," she said.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said all the evidence suggested Mr Adams was in the IRA.

"I am in no doubt whatsoever that Gerry Adams was in the IRA – without a shadow of a doubt," he said.

"And it's become slightly farcical I think that he still stands there and says he wasn't – and if he's still standing there to say he was not, then the reality is what can you believe from this man?"

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy dismissed the comments by Mr Long, who he described as a "bitter opponent of Gerry Adams for 35 years (who) would have regarded (Adams) as a traitor".

"The allegations have been made over the years and have been consistently denied," Mr Murphy told the BBC.

"You have to look at the people who are making the allegations to see what their motivation is."

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