Belfast Telegraph

Help the victims now, parties told by dying son of murdered Jean McConville

By Cate McCurry

The dying son of one of the Disappeared who was later abused as an orphan has urged Northern Ireland's political parties to implement a redress scheme for abuse victims.

Billy McConville was six when he went to Rubane House in Co Down after his mother Jean was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972.

The body of the mother-of-10 was recovered on a beach in Co Louth 31 years later.

Mr McConville (50) told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in 2014 he was abused by some De La Salle Brothers and by a lay teacher in Rubane House.

In an interview with the Irish News, he described how he has weeks to live after bladder cancer spread throughout his body.

He spoke out in the hope he can help other victims.

"Me and my family were let down by every side and we're still being let down by politicians," he said.

Inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart recommended that compensation be paid to victims of Church and State child abuse.

He also wrote to senior politicians to say the redress scheme needed to be set up as soon as possible.

Mr McConville added: "Victims who have been let down again and again finally thought we'd been heard, that we'd something to live for and look forward to.

"Now all I look forward to is a coffin.

"My cancer is so serious I could die any minute. I've told the doctor not to put me on a machine.

"I don't want to be kept alive like that.

"The politicians have all the time in the world. Their wages are still being paid - but my time and other victims' time is running out.

"As long as the politicians get their wages they don't give a damn.

"My last message to them would be to say: Do what you're elected to do. Give the people what they deserve. Show proper leadership."

The disappearance of Mrs McConville, a 37-year-old widow, from her flat in the Divis area of west Belfast left 10 children orphaned, who were split up as a result.

Margaret McGuckin of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse called for Secretary of State James Brokenshire to implement the recommendations.

"Billy is such a brave man to speak out when he is so ill," she said.

"He knows by doing so he is sending out a powerful message to our political leaders to get back to work and address the needs of victims."

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