Daughter of McConville to sue Adams over murder

Daughter of McConville to sue Adams over murder
Northern Editor
Irish Times

THE DAUGHTER of Jean McConville is planning to take a civil case against Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams over the IRA murder of her mother.

Helen McKendry said allegations in a book by journalist Ed Moloney that Mr Adams ordered the murder and disappearance of the body of Jean McConville merely reinforced what she and other members of her family had always believed. “I am now going to take a civil case against Gerry Adams. We are seeking legal advice on how to move forward . . .

“I don’t want money from Adams, I want him to admit that he ordered my mother’s murder, I just want him to tell the truth,” said Ms McKendry yesterday.

Ms McKendry said that the claims in Moloney’s book, Voices from the Grave, released today, contained nothing new but nonetheless served to bolster her conviction that Mr Adams was deeply implicated in her mother’s killing.

She hoped the book would also strengthen the civil case she was planning to take against the Sinn Féin president.

This book’s claim of Mr Adams’s involvement in the killing of Jean McConville in December 1972 is made posthumously by Brendan “The Dark” Hughes, a senior IRA figure and close friend of Mr Adams, until they became estranged in the 1990s.

Hughes, who died in 2008, made the allegations in a series of interviews he gave to Boston College in 2001 and 2002, and from which Moloney has drawn. Hughes gave the interviews on condition that the material would not be released until after his death.

Hughes claimed Ms McConville, a mother of 10 children, was interrogated and warned by the IRA after a British army transmitter was discovered in her Divis Flats home in west Belfast. He claimed that despite this warning a short time afterwards another transmitter was found and it was then decided by the IRA that she would be murdered as an informer.

In an extract from the book in yesterday’s Sunday Times , Hughes said he knew Ms McConville was to be “executed”.

He also claimed that there was a debate over whether her body should be left on a street in west Belfast or “disappeared”. Her body was accidentally discovered on Shelling Hill Beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

“There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed,” said Mr Hughes. “That man is now the head of Sinn Féin. I did not give the order to execute that woman – he did. And yet he went to see her kids to promise an investigation into her death.”

“I never carried out a major operation without the okay or the order from Gerry . And for him to sit in his plush office in Westminster or Stormont or wherever and deny it, I mean it’s like Hitler denying that there was ever a Holocaust,” he added.

Mr Adams has repeatedly denied the allegations. “The allegations contained in the Sunday Times are not new,” said a party spokesman. “Gerry Adams has consistently denied these. In the last years of his life Brendan Hughes was very ill and he publicly disagreed with the strategy being pursued by republicans.”

Helen McKendry again rejected the allegation that her mother, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism, was an informer.

“Do you think us 10 children wouldn’t have come across a transmitter in the flat; how come we didn’t find it; there was no transmitter. My mother was murdered because she went to comfort a British soldier on the street who was shot by the IRA,” she said.

Her father Arthur had died that January in 1972, she added. “After our mother disappeared we all managed to stay together for six weeks but then we were all split up into different children’s homes.”

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