Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams pressed in Disappeared documentary over alleged role in Jean McConville death

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has again denied allegations he was responsible for ordering the killing of Jean McConville
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has again denied allegations he was responsible for ordering the killing of Jean McConville
Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes in Long Kesh. Hughes gave an interview to Boston College.
Murdered: Jean McConville

Gerry Adams's alleged role in the murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville will again come under the spotlight through a keenly anticipated documentary on the Disappeared.

The programme will broadcast, for the first time, the voice of a former IRA boss claiming the Sinn Fein president ordered the widow's murder.

Mr Adams once again insisted he had nothing to do with the young mother's death in 1972. But the late Brendan "Darkie" Hughes, once a close friend of Mr Adams, said: "There's only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. That man is now the head of Sinn Fein."

Mr Adams tells the documentary makers: "I had no act or part to play in either the abduction, the killing or burial or Jean McConville or indeed any of these other people. Brendan is telling lies."

Hughes, who died in 2008, made his claim in an interview with researchers at Boston College seven years earlier. It was given on the condition that nothing would be published until after his death.

Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price, who died earlier this year, also alleged Mr Adams had been her IRA Officer Commanding during the early 1970s and specifically implicated him in the murder of Mrs McConville.

The widow's remains were recovered at Shelling Beach, Co Louth in August 2003 - more than three decades after she was abducted. Forensic tests revealed she had been badly beaten and shot in the back of the head.

The discovery was made by a member of the public and is part of a live police investigation.

"If I lived for 200 years I still don't think I could describe how I felt when we got my mother's body back," said Mr McConville, who wants the killers brought to justice.

"They took my mother from her house. To bring her down to a beach with her hands tied behind her back and to put a gun to the back of her head and shoot her - that's an execution.

"They knew exactly who they were killing and what she was leaving behind. That was a war crime and the people responsible should be brought to The Hague."

Despite the passage of over 40 years Mr McConville, now aged 51 and a father-of-four, can still vividly recall the day his mother was dragged from her home with wailing children clinging desperately to her limbs.

A gang of up to 20 IRA men and women were involved, including two neighbours who knew the children by name.

His three-hour ordeal at the hands of the IRA's youth wing was a warning to stay silent.

"I was going to give the names of the ones who were not wearing masks to the police," he said.

"They said they were going to shoot me if I told anything about any member of the IRA. That they would shoot me or shoot a member of the family."

Before her death Jean McConville was held and interrogated for up to six days in Belfast. Separate IRA teams were organised to drive her south of the Irish border; kill her and to dig the grave.

Ahead of the broadcast, the Republic's Fianna Fail party last night intensified the pressure on Mr Adams.

"For a long time we have called on Sinn Fein and its leader Gerry Adams to be honest about the past and to account for their activities.

"We look forward to seeing this programme and hope that it will aid the efforts of PIRA victims, especially the families of the Disappeared, to finally get to the truth of what happened to their loved ones," a spokesperson said.

'The Disappeared', a co-production between RTE and the BBC, will be broadcast on RTE1 tonight at 9:35pm and at 10.35pm on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

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