Gerry Adams accused of giving IRA orders by ex-IRA man Peter Rogers

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams Gerry Adams, who has led Sinn Féin since 1983, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA

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An ex-IRA man has made new allegations about Gerry Adams, in which he raises questions about the Sinn Féin leader's claim to have never been in the IRA.

Peter Rogers has alleged that Mr Adams and his Sinn Féin colleague Martin McGuinness ordered him to transport explosives to Great Britain in 1980.

Both Sinn Féin men declined interviews but their party issued a statement saying the allegations were untrue.

Mr McGuinness is on record as saying he left the IRA in the early 1970s.

Mr Rogers, now 69 years old, is a former IRA prisoner who escaped from the Maidstone Prison Ship in 1972.

'Bombing campaign'

Eight years later, he was jailed in the Republic of Ireland for the IRA murder of a Garda (police) officer.

Detective Garda Seamus Quaid was shot and killed after his police patrol stopped a vehicle in County Wexford on 13 October 1980. Another officer was injured in the attack.

Mr Rogers has claimed that during the same year as Garda Quaid's murder, he was summoned to a meeting in Dublin with Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness, because of his reluctance to move explosives to England for a bombing campaign.

Peter Rogers, a former IRA prisoner, claimed Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness met him in 1980 and ordered him to take explosives to England for a bombing campaign

He had complained that the liquid explosives were "unstable" and feared he would either be killed in a premature explosion or caught by police in possession of the substance.

"When I met with them, Gerry wanted to know what the delay was," Mr Rogers told the BBC.

He claimed that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness listened to his concerns and held a brief conversation out of his earshot, before coming back to him with a decision.

"Gerry said 'look Peter, we can't replace that explosive, you will have to go with what you have and as soon as you can get it across, the better', so as far as I was concerned, I was given a direct order," Mr Rogers said.

Death sentence

He added that a short time after the alleged meeting in Dublin, detectives in the Republic of Ireland stopped his van in Wexford, while he was transporting the explosives.

Mr Rogers said he killed Garda Quaid in the ensuing gun battle.

He was originally sentenced to death but it was commuted to a 40-year jail term for capital murder.

Nine years into his sentence, which he served in Portlaoise prison, County Laois, Mr Rogers left the republican movement and the republican wing of the jail.

He was later released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He wrote letters of apology to the families of Garda Quaid and his injured colleague, but his apologies were not accepted.

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness declined to be interviewed about Peter Rogers' allegations

Earlier this year, Garda Quaid's family objected to Sinn Féin's decision to stage its ard fheis (annual conference) in Wexford Opera House.

The family requested that a plaque erected in tribute to the murdered officer be removed from display at the venue.

At the time, Mr McGuinness said Garda Quaid was an innocent victim of the Troubles and that if the family wished to speak to him, he would be willing to meet them.

Mr Adams, who has led Sinn Féin since 1983, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.

In 2003, Mr McGuinness testified about his IRA membership when he was called to give evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Londonderry.

He told the inquiry that he was second in command of the Provisional IRA in Derry on Bloody Sunday in January 1972, but said: "I left the IRA in the early part of the 1970s".

Gregory Campbell of the Democratic Unionist Party said Sinn Féin's dismissal of Mr Rogers' claims was further evidence that the party was "in denial about their past".

"Rogers is the latest in a long line of former associates who have implicated both men. How long will they continue their pretence?" he said.

"The terror happened, it's now over. They need to admit their part in it, face whatever consequence there may be and move on."

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