We need to know the truth about Gerry Adams’s alleged involvement in the ‘disappearance’ of Jean McConville

3 April 2014

11:44 AM

3 April 2014

11:44 AM

Readers will know that I am interested in the subject of post-Good Friday agreement ‘justice’ in Northern Ireland. Having been one of the few people to have followed the possibilities of justice over Bloody Sunday, I also recently wrote about the apparently one-sided amnesties which the last Labour government appears to have given to Republicans not convicted of crimes but counted as ‘on the run‘. It has long been my contention that justice cannot only be applied to one side or one group of people. Investigate the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment for what happened in January 1972 and you have to investigate the leadership of Sinn Fein – IRA for their activities.

So it is interesting to note that police in Belfast have arrested and released another man for the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. This follows the arrest and charging last month of former IRA chief Ivor Bell for his alleged involvement in the murder.


The killing – and ‘disappearing’ – of McConville remains one of the most disturbing cases of the Troubles. The 37-year old widow and mother of ten children was abducted by the IRA in front of her children. Her body – she had been shot in the back of the head – was only literally stumbled upon in 2003, fifty miles from her home, in County Louth.

In the criminal inquiry one of McConville’s children has said that Gerry Adams should be arrested and questioned. Indeed he should. The claim that Adams ordered the abduction and execution of McConville has been in circulation for years. Adams himself of course denies any involvement and has volunteered to help police with their inquiries. But the deceased Belfast IRA commander Brendan ‘Darkie’ Hughes among others has claimed that Adams was behind this atrocious crime.

Of course these days, along with Martin McGuinness, Adams likes to frequent distinguished gatherings, mingle with great statesmen, pose for Hello magazine style photo shoots and so on. Adams’s newly cuddly public image is inevitably tainted by questions about the death of Jean McConville.

There are not many examples of justice after such a long period of time. But it would be good if, after all these years, we were to know the truth about Adams’s involvement or otherwise in the murder of Jean McConville and the lifetimes of suffering her ‘disappearance’ left behind.

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Show comments
  • patto69

    Andrew Parke. You seem to have bought into the legend that surrounds this case, no evidence exists that any such shooting of a soldier took place. However if the author of the piece wants to quote ‘Darkie’ Hughes he should note that Hughes mainained that the murdered woman was in possession of transmitters that had been give to her by the British Army to spy on her neighbours.

  • edlancey

    The same Adams who no doubt covered for his paedophile brother…

  • Agrippina

    Over the years I have listened to many programmes dealing with the terrible murder of this widow of 10 children. I recall that the adult children discussed the loss of their father to cancer and then the sudden disappearance of their mother. How Mrs McConville had not taken a coat and her purse was sitting on the side, and how they all expected her to return.

    The oldest daughter in her teens took up the care of her siblings but still a school girl herself, the children were taken into care and the family separated. It is unbearable to think of such savagery for an act of kindness shown to a soldier as he lay dying in her arms.

    I do hope after all these years, some of those involved, both men and women, from what the younger children told the authorities at the time, the eldest child had gone to the shop, are put before the court and justice at last for these orphaned children.

    • davidshort10

      They will answer to God.

      • paul4id

        How it would be a wonderful thing if that were true. I fear a wonder may all it shall be…

  • sfin

    I spent five years in Northern Ireland, combatting terrorism from both sides. I was also there during Mo Mowlam’s tenure and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

    Your aims are laudable Douglas but there is a lot of detail, regarding the whole question of retrospective justice, that the British public were not told in the run up to the signing. I know of, at least one republican terrorist who was being held, awaiting charges of multiple murder, under a mountain of evidence which had taken RUC special branch two years to accumulate, and who was then ordered released from the Northern Ireland office after a telephone conversation between Mowlam and McGuiness. This was before the signing of the Good Friday agreement.

    Like I said, Douglas, your aims are laudable – but those who surrender, do not dictate the terms.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Indeed, and Whitehall has been needlessly accommodating to the IRA, destroying much paperwork inconvenient to the ‘Peace’ process.

  • ADW

    1. The IRA would have liked to have assassinated the entire British government, but it did not have the means.

    2. The British government certainly had the means to assassinate all of Sinn Fein, but it chose not to.

    Maybe it could have made a point by just topping Gerry Adams, but it chose not to do even that.

    It’s a shame, though, that it took 9/11 for the American funders of the IRA to figure out that murder in the name of political ends isn’t a great strategy. And the irony never dawned on them that there had been Protestants in Ireland a lot longer than there had been Irish in America, so all that stuff about foreign intrusion was a bit rich. They might also have reflected on the fate of the native Irish v the fate of the native Americans. Both might have had cause for complaint, but one ended up very much worse than the other (thanks in no small part to the Irish Americans …), whichever way you look at it.

    • Epimenides

      ADW, the Loyalists would have done Adams for the Government but MI5 knew of an assassination attempt and gained access to the ammo that was to be used. They tampered with the bullets, removing some of the explosive in the shell casings. Adams was shot at close range sitting in his car. The first bullet penetrated his arm but the second jammed in the barrel.
      Adams walked away.

    • paul4id

      Not to forget that Ulster and Scotland have been culturally linked for MILLENNIA in both directions across a mere 12 miles of sea (and back in the day this would have been easier to traverse than the dense woodland across an Ireland where people only related to family clans). The first post-ice age population in Ireland arriving from Scotland. Later Irish colonisation of Scotland (the “Scotti” originally being a name for the Irish). Population transfers in both directions due to famines occurring on both sides of the North Channel at various different times. The original Irish Republicans were actually Protestant Presbyterians, and in many cases Protestants have Gaelic names and Catholics English names so it really is a nonsense generalisation that modern Republicans looking for excuses to murder have made too (Gerry ADAMS for God’s sake!)

  • GraveDave

    Adams and McGuiness. Brothers in blood.

  • GUBU

    Perhaps the accompanying photograph shows Mr Adams reaching for a letter signed by Mr Powell that will enable him to avoid further unpleasantness on this issue?

  • Andrew Parke

    McConville’s alleged “crime”?
    To comfort a British soldier in his final minutes after being shot outside the Divis flats.
    Apparently she didn’t deserve mercy “just because she is a woman”.

    Let’s not forget that these are the people who take the moral high ground…

  • MikeF

    The word ‘execution’ has no part to play in any discussion of the death of Jean McConville. Executions happen as part of a due process of law. The only word that is applicable in this instance is ‘murder’.