Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

McConville family's fury at Gerry Adams' cold dismissal of killing

By Niall O'Connor

Published 07/04/2015

Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville, with the only family photograph of her mother
Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville, with the only family photograph of her mother
Seamus McKendry, Helen’s husband, on Templetown beach in Co Louth during a search for Mrs McConville’s body

The family of Jean McConville has accused Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams of having reduced her memory to "that of a thing".

Loved ones of the murdered mother-of-10 have reacted angrily after Mr Adams described the 1972 murder as "something that happens in wars".

The west Belfast woman was one of the Disappeared - people murdered and buried in secret by the IRA during the Troubles.

Her remains were finally found at Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

Louth TD Mr Adams, who was previously questioned over Mrs McConville's death but released without charge, made the claims in an interview aired on US television station CBS on Sunday night.

When asked by interviewer Scott Pelley "how do you orphan 10 children, what kind of depravity is that?", Mr Adams responded: "That's what happens in wars, Scott.

"That's not to minimise it. That's what American soldiers do, Irish republican soldiers do, you know. That's what happens in every single conflict."

And in a move that has further outraged the McConville family, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald stood by Mr Adams' claims, adding that "awful things did happen" over the course of the Troubles.

Members of the McConville family yesterday reacted angrily to the comments and insisted they will not accept any apology if it is made.

Ms McConville's son Mark said if his mother's death was an event that happened during a war, then it should be treated as a war crime.

He described Mr Adams as "two faced" and claimed he had apologised to him "behind closed doors" before referring to the murder as something that "happens in wars".

"I think to be honest that Gerry Adams is a hypocrite," Mr McConville told RTE's Morning Ireland.

"If this had have happened to an IRA family and 10 children were left orphaned would he say the same thing? I don't think so.

"The reason why I'm calling him a hypocrite is because he apologised to me in one of the meetings that we had, and he apologised for the murder of my mother, and he apologised for the way the IRA treated our family after," he added.

Seamus McKendry, the husband of Ms McConville's daughter Helen, said the family will not accept any apology from Mr Adams.

"I'd say to Gerry Adams, don't bother with some sort of half-hearted apology for your callous vocabulary. Remember when you're called upon to explain your part in the war, that 'these things happen'," he said.

Mr McKendry, who has campaigned consistently for justice for the Disappeared, said he and his wife are considering their legal options over the comments.

He said Mr Adams had "castigated her [Jean's] memory to that of a 'thing'" adding that he has treated Mairia Cahill in an equally appalling manner.

Mr McKendry has said he and Helen are actively considering a civil action against Mr Adams.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph