A TRIBUTE to republican hardliner Dolours Price has been attacked by an IRA victim’s relative.
Ms Price, who admitted to having helped to abduct murder victim Jean McConville in 1972, was referred to as having been a “soft-hearted person” in a funeral oration by socialist Eamonn McCann.
Ms Price died last week aged 62 in Dublin. She had been behind the bombing of the Old Bailey in 1973 and is understood to have admitted helping abduct Mrs McConville, who was killed and secretly buried.
In her latter years, Ms Price had also been an opponent of Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process.
But speaking at her graveside on Monday, Mr McCann, a columnist for the Belfast Telegraph, was reported to have said: “Sometimes it is very difficult to handle the hard things that you felt compelled to do when you are soft-hearted at the core of your being.
“And Dolours was a soft-hearted person, as well as a hard person in her politics.”
A mother-of-10, Jean McConville was killed and secretly buried in the Republic.
Her son-in-law, Seamus McKendry, 55 and living in the Downpatrick area, said: “Eamonn should stick to social issues like anti-fracking and more public housing, and stuff that’s he’s used to – civil rights matters.
“How soft-hearted can you be to know you are driving a mother of 10 to her death? You’re a callous, cold-hearted low-life.”
He added that he actually admired much of Mr McCann’s work. “I’ve always credited him with intelligence,” he said.
“(But) if he’s saying she is ‘soft-hearted’ then he has lost the plot, much to my dismay.”
Mrs McConville’s body was eventually discovered in 2003.
Mr McCann, a 69-year-old living in the north-west of the Province, said he had been asked by members of her family to speak at her funeral.
He said he has “no time for any kind of nationalism”, and branded the murder of Mrs McConville “a horrible and unforgivable act.”
“I don’t think I said anything at Dolours Price’s grave that contradicted that,” he said.
“The point I had in mind, the point I was making, was there are some people deeply implicated in the cruel murder of Mrs McConville who appear not to be undergoing any inner turmoil. They appear to find it very easy to handle the knowledge of their own involvement in that murder.
“I did say I felt Dolours Price set out in her own mind to liberate people. But she was imprisoned herself by the ideals of liberation she received from Irish republicanism.
“Dolours was a person deeply affected by things she had done on behalf of the Provisional republican movement.”
He added that he “absolutely respects” Mr McKendry’s own point of view.