The Price sisters

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 2(March/April 2012), Platform, Volume 20

Marian and Dolours Price outside No. 10 Downing Street, London, in October 1972. They were attending a student conference at the time. Within six months they would be part of an IRA unit bombing the city. (An Phoblacht)

Marian and Dolours Price outside No. 10 Downing Street, London, in October 1972. They were attending a student conference at the time. Within six months they would be part of an IRA unit bombing the city. (An Phoblacht)

The PSNI reference to Dolours Price opened another strand of history reaching from the dark days of the early 1970s to the present. Sisters Dolours and Marian Price famously endured a hunger strike of over 200 days in England, from November 1973 to June 1974, prolonged by force-feeding. They and fellow republicans Gerry Kelly and Hugh Feeney, part of the ‘Belfast Ten’ group who bombed London in March 1973, were gravely ill when Mayo IRA man Michael Gaughan died on the same protest in Parkhurst prison. Gaughan’s death in June 1974 brought the impasse to a head and advanced the repatriation of the four protesting Belfast IRA members to Armagh and Long Kesh. Emancipated on health grounds by 1981, the Prices retreated from public view until their vocal opposition to the Peace Process brought them once again into the spotlight in the 1990s. Marian Price, a leading personality in the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, was remanded in custody to Maghaberry prison for alleged offences committed at the 2011 Real IRA Easter commemoration in Derry. One Boston College spokesman has opined that the ‘dissident’ republican factor lies at the heart of the PSNI interest.

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