Thursday, 24 January 2013

Dolours Price (1)

The death of Dolours Price has brought a renewed focus on her statements that Gerry Adams was her commanding officer in the Provisional IRA.  As a result it is damaging to Sinn Fein's attempt to rewrite the history of the Troubles.
Dolours and her sister Marian were born into a staunchly republican family in Belfast and were the daughters of Albert Price.  There is an interesting reference to Albert Price in Tim Pat Coogan's book on The IRA:
The Provisionals or Provos as they became generally known, began to group in the Falls area generally.  For instance, the Andersonstown branch of Sinn Fein, the Rodger McCorley Cumann, split from the Official IRA of Cathal Goulding when the section led by Albert Price - father of the Price sisters, Dolores and Marion, who went on hunger strike in Brixton prison after being sentenced for their part in the London bombings - differed from the socialist policy of the rest of the Cumann and reverted to the traditional Republican aim of getting the British out of occupied Ireland.
My attention was taken by the name of the Sinn Fein cumann of which Albert Price was a member, the Rodger [sic] McCorley cumann.  So who was Roger McCorley and why did Sinn Fein name the Andersonstown cumann after him?
Roddy McCorley was a Presbyterian farmer and a United Irishmen.  He took part in the 1798 rebellion and then afterwards went on the run.  McCorley attempted to emigrate from Ulster to America but was arrested and executed at Toome on 28 February 1800.  Later he was reburied at Duneane Presbyteran churchyard.  He was generaly known as Roddy McCorley but at his trial and execution he was referred to in the press as Roger McCorley.
However there was another Roger McCorley and one who had a much closer connection with West Belfast.  This Roger McCorley was a great-grandson of the earlier United Irishman.  He was a member of the Belfast Brigade of the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, 1919-1922.
McCorley was commandant of the 1st Battalion and in August 1920 he was one of four IRA men who murdered Detective Inspector Oswald Swanzy, a member of the RIC, as he left Christ Church cathedral in Lisburn.  On 26 January 1921 he was involved in the murder of three men in their beds in the Railway View Hotel in Belfast.  McCorley and another IRA man, Seamus Woods, organised an Active Service Unit to carry out attacks without the approval of the IRA leadership.  He personally led the gang in the murder of three Black and Tans and his men carried on a 'savage underground war'.  In April 1922 he became leader of the IRA in Belfast.  Under his leadership they murdered William J Twaddell MP, a Belfast businessman.  Subsequently he fled south of the border and took the side of the Free State against the Anti-Treaty republicans.
In March 1940 Roger McCorley was a founding member of Coras na Poblachta, a political party which sought a United Ireland and economic independence from the United Kingdom.  It also called for greater prominence for the Irish language and took a pro-fascist position during the Second World War.  Also in attendance at the inaugural meeting was Seamus O'Donovan, an IRA leader who was the architect of the IRA bombing campaign in Britain and collaborated with the Nazis.  Such connections between Irish republicans and the Nazis must be a source of embarassment to Sinn Fein!
Today the name Roddy or Roger McCorley is best known in West Belfast in connection with the Roddy McCorley Social Club.

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