The legal action was revealed last night by the London-based law firm, McCue, Jury & Partners, which specialises in cases on behalf of victims of terror.
In a press release, the lawyers said:
“A high court civil action has been launched by victims of Provisional IRA terrorism against Gerry Adams.
“The claimants intend to demonstrate his leadership of PIRA and responsibility for its mainland bombing campaign, which was waged for over twenty years from 1973 to 1996.
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“Not only has Adams always denied any responsibility for PIRA’s terrorist campaign, he has also repeatedly denied ever even being a member of PIRA.
“This is despite many eyewitnesses coming forward to allege that, for decades, PIRA was under Adam’s leadership. If true, then Adams may be responsible for over 1,300 terrorist murders. Yet, there still has never been a proper inquiry into his alleged role in the Troubles.”
The McCue, Jury & Partners statement continued: “Meanwhile, PIRA’s victims have had to watch former PIRA members elevated to political office and mythologised as freedom fighters. The claimants can no longer tolerate the rewriting of the Troubles to force this fiction as fact while, for too long, the victims have been denied justice, ignored, and forgotten.
“The action is not for compensation but has been brought to compel Adams through a legal process to give a full and honest account of his role in the Northern Ireland Troubles. Should he refuse then it will be for the court to adjudicate on his part.
“At a time when the UK government is introducing legislation that will prevent any future legal actions associated with the Troubles, this may be the last chance to compel Adams to engage in an effective truth and reconciliation process to ensure a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and to give, finally, PIRA’s victims some deserved closure.”
Mr Adams, 73, has always denied membership of the IRA or any involvement in its terrorism.
A spokesman for Mr Adams was reported in the Mail newspaper as saying: “Mr Adams rejects the claims made in the notice of legal action. His solicitor will deal with it.”