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Gerry Adams has lied over IRA membership, claims ex-member

An IRA veteran has branded Gerry Adams a liar for saying he was never a member of the IRA Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Gerry Adams has “lied” by claiming he was never a member of the IRA, a former IRA member has alleged.

The ex-Sinn Fein president has consistently said throughout his life that he was never a member of the IRA.

A new BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme is set to air a claim by Des Long, a former member of the IRA’s ruling army council, that Mr Adams has lied about his membership.

IRA veteran Des Long has branded Gerry Adams a liar for denying he was a member of the IRA Credit: PA

The programme also quotes army intelligence from the time which said Mr Adams was understood to be leading the IRA in later years of the 1970s.

Mr Long claimed in an interview during the programme that Mr Adams was at one stage the chairman of the IRA’s army council.

“You can’t be on the army council unless you are a volunteer, and you can’t be chairman of the army council unless you are a member of the army council,” he told the programme.

“And I sat opposite him in meetings, this lie that he comes out with that he was never in the IRA. That’s a lie.

“I say that now as having sat opposite him in meetings, probably get shot for it, but I’m saying it.”

In May, Mr Adams told the Ballymurphy inquest: “I was not a member of the IRA, I have never disassociated myself with the IRA, and I never will, until the day I die.”

Mr Adams declined to be interviewed for the Spotlight programme.

During the programme, journalist Darragh MacIntyre examines 1972, from being the year the IRA feted as their “year of victory”, to what became the “long war”.

It also examines the Ulster Workers’ Council strike of 1974 and the collapse of the Sunningdale administration.

BBC Spotlight reporters Jennifer O’Leary, Darragh MacIntyre and Mandy McAuley Credit: BBC/PA

Last week, the first episode of the seven-part series marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the Troubles contained a claim that the Rev Ian Paisley funded a UVF bomb attack as well as airing footage of Martin McGuinness showing a gun to children.

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness went on to play key roles in the powersharing Stormont Executive as first and deputy first ministers.

Both men have since died.

Mr Paisley’s son Ian criticised the claim that his father funded a UVF bomb attack as “complete and total poppycock”.

The second episode of Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History will be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland and across the UK on BBC 4 on September 17 at 9pm.

Episode one can be viewed now on the BBC iPlayer.