25 February 2010 Edition
Wright family responds to Price's claims in Irish News
The family of West Belfast man Seamus Wright who was killed by the IRA in 1972 are challenging Dolours Price over claims she has information about his disappearance, saying, “we will be eager to hear from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victim’s Remains (ICLVR) if Dolours Price has anything useful to say, or if she is motivated solely by the immunity of the ICLVR for her own ends”.
Speaking to Belfast morning newspaper the Irish News last week, Dolours Price, a former republican prisoner, maintained it was her who transported Wright across the border where the IRA executed and secretly buried him.
However in a statement to the media, which An Phoblacht carries below in full, the Wright family are calling on Price to bring forward any information she might have to the ICLVR.
The family said that if Price is involved in a “self-serving exercise driven by a personal vendetta”, they wanted “no part” in it.
Dolours Price was among eight republicans convicted of carrying out a number of bombings in England in the early 1970s. She was transferred to Armagh prison from where she was released in 1981.
In recent years Price has been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Below is the full text of the Wright family statement.
"We the family of Seamus Wright wish to respond to the article in the Irish News on 18 February 2010, in which Dolours Price is reported as saying that she has information about the disappearance and death of our brother Seamus in 1972.
Our family have not commented publicly about Seamus since he disappeared.
Following the admission by the IRA, in 1999, that they had killed Seamus and secretly buried his body and the subsequent establishment of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victim’s Remains (ICLVR), we were given hope that our family could finally achieve closure.
Sadly our mother died last year without that closure.
We have resisted the urge to respond at various stages over recent years when some have attempted to use our family for their own selfish ends.
All we have ever wanted was for a successful conclusion to the search for Seamus’ remains so that we could give him a Christian burial and lay him to rest with our parents and our sister.
The IRA killed Seamus. They have identified the location where Seamus was buried. We accept the validity of that information.
It is clearly understood by many, including the ICLVR, that a number of factors have hindered the search for Seamus’ remains. These have included the impact of the passage of time on people’s memory, the deaths of some of those directly involved in these events and the hostility of some who may have information towards those republicans who are trying to help bring closure.
We have been treated with dignity and respect in all of our dealings with the ICLVR and we are thankful to all those who remain committed to genuinely helping us find Seamus’ remains.
If Dolours Price is not engaged in a self-serving exercise driven by a personal vendetta, in which we want no part, then we have some questions for her.
When Seamus’ case and that of others was first brought into the public domain in 1999 did she respond to the calls by the IRA and others to bring forward information?
Was she asked for information and if so how did she respond?
Why has she waited until now to comment on Seamus’ case?
She is reported to have been present when Seamus was taken “to the Republic” and as having information about Seamus’ “last days”.
Does she have any worthwhile information that can help locate Seamus’ remains?
If Dolours Price has nothing to add to the search for Seamus’ remains, then we ask her and those around her to stop using our family for their own selfish reasons.
We will be eager to hear from the ICLVR if Dolours Price has anything useful to say, or if she is motivated solely by the immunity of the ICLVR for her own ends.
We would call on anyone with information that can help locate the remains of any of those known as the disappeared to bring that information forward to the ICLVR.
It is those families who are deserving of our prayers and best wishes not those who seek to use our grief for their own narrow political ends."
Gerry Adams comments
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, commenting on the interview with Price in the Irish News said:
“There are lots of citizens who served in the IRA and they did so diligently and to the best of their ability.
When they had finished that they went back into civilian life, and got on with their lives, and some continue to be involved in politics through community organisations or Sinn Féin or other organisations.
Many of them suffered imprisonment injury or the loss of friends and comrades. All can look back on their IRA involvement with pride.
Some disagree profoundly with the Sinn Féin leadership, for reasons of vanity and ego; others because they disagreed with the direction the struggle has gone, and it is clear also that some people have been traumatised as part of their experience in the IRA. And by her own admission Dolours appears to be one of those.
I think we have a duty of solidarity to all former combatants, as we would with anyone coming out of conflict.
It is also important that we don’t lose sight of the people who were killed and buried by the IRA – and there has been an ongoing effort to get those remains back. I think we have to be very measured about how we deal with all of these events.
Dolours has set herself against the Sinn Féin leadership on many occasions. But I was very moved by her admission that she is suffering from trauma.
There obviously are issues that she has to find closure on for herself and there’s no point anyone in these situations blaming anyone else – it’s up to her and she needs support to come to terms with all of this.
However, she is not alone. There are other former vulnerable republican activists who have or are suffering trauma and who have been cynically exploited by some elements of the media.”