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FORMER Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told a Belfast court that he was not a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as he gave evidence at the Ballymurphy inquiry today.
The TD for Louth made the claim during cross-examination as he appeared at the hearing which is looking into the deaths of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers during a three-day killing spree in August 1971.
A barrister for the coroner quizzed him over his connections asking whether he was a senior member of the IRA at the time of the killings, which Mr Adams denied, although confirmed he was a Sinn Fein activist.
“I was not a member of the IRA, I have never disassociated myself with the IRA, and I never will, until the day I die.
“I would’ve been in a minority,” he explained. “The military tendency within republicanism was the dominant tendency.”
He said that he did not witness any of the shootings, however had witnessed much of the aftermath.
British soldiers went on the rampage after the introduction of internment without trial, which was seen as targeting Belfast’s Catholic minority.
Ten people were shot dead and another had a fatal heart attack after British soldiers stuck a gun in his mouth in a mock execution.
Mr Adams was quizzed for hours, but relatives complained about the focus on his membership or otherwise of the IRA, which they said had little to do with the inquest.
“The British government opted for the military option and reneged on its political responsibilities, and handed it over to the generals.
“The generals did what generals do. The paratroopers were ordered to pacify and subdue and kill the enemy, and the enemy in this case were the decent people of Ballymurphy.
“It is hardly surprising that the Provisional IRA came into the ascendancy fairly quickly,” he said.
The inquest continues.
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