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Why aren't there calls for Adams to be quizzed?

It is now a year since the publication of Voices from the Grave by Ed Moloney. This book is based, in part, on the tape-recorded reminiscences of the late Brendan Hughes, a sometime senior IRA man.

Perhaps the most shocking section of his account deals with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Jean McConville late in 1972. At the time of her abduction, Gerry Adams was commander of the Belfast brigade of the Provisional IRA. Hughes - who interrogated Mrs McConville - alleged in his tape-recorded account that her murder was ordered by the former MP for West Belfast.

Hughes said: "There was only one man who gave the order for the woman [Mrs McConville] to be executed. That man is now the head of Sinn Fein." According to Hughes, Adams also ordered her secret burial. What Hughes said is, of course, an alleged account only. However, what is remarkable is that, to date, Adams has not been questioned by the police in relation to Hughes' allegations.

This is in spite of the fact that, in the past, many men have been held and questioned in relation to serious crimes on the basis of less-substantial evidence than that contained in Hughes' recordings.

What is more remarkable still is that, thus far, no senior member of any of the main unionist parties has - so far as I am aware - called for Adams to be questioned in relation to the McConville case.

The SDLP has also, so far as I know, been silent on these allegations. Do the leaders of unionism and constitutional nationalism not think Mrs McConville's case worthy of investigation?

C D C ARMSTRONG

Belfast

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