RUC did not know of Adams murder bid: Ombudsman

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams

A policing watchdog has found no evidence the Royal Ulster Constabulary was involved in a loyalist gun attack on Gerry Adams 30 years ago.

The paramilitary Ulster Freedom Fighters opened fire on a car containing the Sinn Fein president and four other men as they travelled from a Belfast court.

The driver, despite being hit twice, managed to reach hospital.

Mr Adams had claimed the security forces had prior knowledge of what happened or had been involved.

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said: “We have talked to all the people involved in the events that day, including the perpetrators, the victims and the police.

“We have examined all the available evidence, including forensic and sensitive intelligence material, and found no evidence that police knew of the attack beforehand.”

Mr Adams – a West Belfast MP who did not take his seat at Westminster and a hate figure for loyalists angered by his failure to condemn IRA violence – was shot on March 14, 1984, months after becoming president of Sinn Fein.

After his attempted murder, an off-duty Ulster Defence Regiment soldier who was driving in the city centre at the time chased the loyalist gunmen’s car, the ombudsman said.

As it stopped in traffic, he got out of his vehicle and drew his firearm.

An off-duty policeman also arrived on the scene, then two soldiers in plain clothes.

The three gunmen were detained, convicted and given significant prison sentences.

Mr Adams complained to the ombudsman’s office following articles in two newspapers which reported that members of the RUC knew of the attack beforehand.

The ombudsman’s office said the republican leader claimed he felt “something was not quite right” about the entire incident.